NAIROBI, December 22- If there’s a name that stood out in Kenyan motor sports in 2015, it can only be Tejas Hirani.
The 17 year-old has been rising through the ranks of the sport locally and internationally as he propelled his country back to the global scene.
Hirani had an exciting year where he impressed; winning the 2015 season Rally Raid 2WD non-turbo Buggy Championship, Auto cross 2WD non-turbo Buggy Championship and notably; the UAE Formula Gulf 1000 Championship.
After winning the Gulf event, the gifted prospect travelled to Europe to participate in three RXLites (part of the FIA World Rallycross Championship) rounds in Italy, Spain, and Turkey having joined the international circuit towards the end of the season.
He gained entry after participating in a Lites test day which was organised by First Corner in Istanbul at the end of last year.
Since then, the African driver has taken the opportunity to compete in Supercar Lites and was the first Kenyan and the first driver in the World Rallycross arena this year.
Having previously competed in Rally Raid and stage rallies as well as the Formula BMW Rookie Program, Hirani shifted seamlessly to rallycross.
He impressed despite never competing in any races under this format where four competitors at a time race in a tarmac and gravel track with the Joker-lap is the most challenging aspect of the course.
“This is a very important day: not just for RX Lites but also for the FIA World Rallycross Championship. We are so proud and happy that Tejas will be the first African and Kenyan driver to compete in the whole series and his choice is RX Lites.
“Now we have drivers from all continents competing which is very encourganing for the Lites Championship,” Halid Avdagic, the Vice President of First Corner said whilst welcoming Hirani to the rallycross ranks.
Former World Rally Championships ace, Norwegian star Peter Solberg is among the luminaries who feature in the circuit with the young Kenyan mulling a full season next year.
He is now set to compete in the RXLites World Series in Europe, Canada, South America and Australia and possibly even the GRC Red Bull series in the United States of America.
His passion for motor sport started at the age of nine when he met his sponsor and mentor, the veteran local rally ace, Rob Collinge at Nairobi’s Carnivore Restaurant.
Collinge is best known for winning the East African Safari Rally in 2003 and 2005 in a Datsun 260Z, becoming the only Kenyan to ever win it twice and still sits top of leader board with most stage wins.
Harani now ranks as a six-time national champion and the first Kenyan to win an international Motorsport Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
He has 48 races, sat on the podium 73 times and represented Kenya twice at the world governing body International Automobile Federation (FIA) academy in South Africa.
The teenager has a bright future in his sights as he pursues his cherished dream of becoming the first African World Rallycross champion.