NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – As the first African on the RX Lites podium, Kenya’s history making Tejas Hirani reveals to Capital Sport about a season of dirt, snow, water, and sand in his four wheel driver rally car.
After 4 Ice races, 7 world championship, and 2 Swedish Championships making it a total of 18 races, the 18-year-old looks more like the world champion he was set to be.
Kicking off the year with ice racing and the first four rounds of the world championship, the teenager noted how big the challenge would be throughout the year.
“Ice racing was back-to-back apart from one race, but with all the traveling from Belgium, Norway, United Kingdom, I got exhausted because I was also working in the workshop trying to get the car ready for the next race,” the teenager disclosed.
“In the beginning I was clueless but it just fell together, and I realized this is why I am doing it, and the focus came back and ended the year on a high.”
They are always lows and highs in any season in motorsports and Hirani says his peak was; “when consistency got better, I started to understand and feel a lot more comfortable in the car.”
“My low was one race. I didn’t enjoy at all which was Sweden and I didn’t even get to the semi finals, had a puncture in the fourth heat got frustrated and over drove in the car and that was the one I can really throw in the bin,” Hirani added.
“All other races apart from Sweden my pace kept on going higher and higher. Spain for example I was consistently second and third quickest throughout the weekend and it was just in the final my clutch exploded so I only did 10 meters which was unlucky.”
“In Latvia the last race the pace came when I became more comfortable in the rain, I did crash in the wall in the final but I still came third, so I was really happy.”
“When you are on the podium its great looking down because you see how much you have achieved and realize how far you have come, you get speechless because it’s a great achievement,” he said.
The youngster happens to be one of the two youngest drivers in the RX lites at the age of 18 compared to the other drivers who are between 20 and 24 which gives them a slight disadvantage as the experience and the focus levels of the older drivers is higher.
-Away from the track-
Apart from it being a challenging sport, Hirani says the most challenging aspect is the mentally side of the sport which he learnt to deal with.
Remarkably apart from all the racing Hirani has ever competed has only rolled a car once in his life which was in Spain.
“The night before race day I watched the Ayrton Senna movie called “Senna” and also Rush a movie that features Niki Lauda and James Hunt to give me the drive feeling before the races,” Hirani explained.
“Most of my free time I’m gyming a lot and doing fitness though I have to put on about 18Kgs of muscle because I’m a bit underweight. Getting used to it all and building up confidence with a four wheel drive car is what has happened this year and I’ve already prepared for next year and it’s mainly to find the funding now.”
“The preparation for next year was completing the season this year is to get to know the tracks the car and everything and then next year it’s to win the championship. Hopefully next year after next season we’ll be talking about how I won the championship.”
It’s not hard to see that Kenya is bound to have their first ever RX lites champion in the future of the sport and it doesn’t look like they will have to wait too long for it.