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Panto villain swaps magic carpet for race car

PUBLISHED: 08:20 18 December 2018

Rik Makarem (right) with former Formula One racing driver Martin Donnelly. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Rik Makarem (right) with former Formula One racing driver Martin Donnelly. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre Royal

A soap star whose villainous performance is delighting audiences at this year's Theatre Royal panto fulfilled a life-long dream by joining a Formula One legend at a world-renowned car factory.

Motorsport fan and Abanazer actor Rik Makarem looking at the iconic Formulas One cars at Classic Team Lotus. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalMotorsport fan and Abanazer actor Rik Makarem looking at the iconic Formulas One cars at Classic Team Lotus. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Actor Rik Makarem, who played Nikhil Sharma in ITV’s Emmerdale, is currently starring as baddie Abanazar in Norwich Theatre Royal’s Aladdin.

But yesterday the former television star swapped the magic carpet for a Formula One engine during a special visit to the Lotus factory in Hethel.

The actor, who is a self-confessed “Formula One nerd”, met motoring hero and former Lotus driver Martin Donnelly.

Mr Donnelly gave the panto star a crash course in how to handle a car at 120mph and gave him a generous rating of 8.5 out of 10 for his driving skills.

Martin Donnelley takes the wheel to give Abanazer actor Rik Makarem a fast and thrilling spin around the Hethel test track at 140 mph. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalMartin Donnelley takes the wheel to give Abanazer actor Rik Makarem a fast and thrilling spin around the Hethel test track at 140 mph. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

The actor said: “I truly am obsessed with Formula One which is probably unhealthy. I won’t go for a Sunday dinner with my family or friends if the Grand Prix is on and the Lotus name is so iconic.”

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