“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.”
Today we have with us, Arjun Rao (born 27 February, 1999, Gurugram), is a rally racer. He has been the youngest ever contestant in Dakshin-Dare. At the age of 15, he became the fastest amateur in Auto-Cross despite being the youngest contestant. He picked up the title of fastest youngster in Speed Sprint XV. Arjun also bagged the award of fastest youngster in Auto-Cross’2015 held in Gurugram and also was the second fastest driver of the event. In 2015, Speed Sprint XI, he won the fastest youngster award. Let’s know more about him in the interview down below.
In conversation with Arjun Rao :
1.) When did you start racing and what was your motivation?
The first time I sat behind the wheel, a wave of passion for driving took me over. At the age of 13, I started with Auto-cross racing. Since I had the enthusiasm and had been Go-karting since a very young age, I wanted to try Auto-cross which later changed into my passion. My ideals are Suresh Rana, a top racer, and my mom Bani Yadav.
2.) Would you like to describe your first race to me?
To take part in a race under the age of 18 ( I had started at 13 ), you need merely your parents consent to race and I already had that since my dad was supporting me. I was nervous since it was my first race and I had no clue about what to do. But, after seeing the track and feeling the wheel under my hands, I thought to myself “Let’s kill this”. I toppled my car. After that, a senior racer sat with me and guided me, it wasn’t allowed but since I was the youngest and it was my first race, they allowed it for a lap. Despite all of this, I came third. It was a moment ecstasy.
3.) Which was your best race?
Maruti Suzuki Auto-cross, Noida. It was a Tarmac track race which is pretty tricky, you have to go about cones and there are various penalties. I won the ‘fastest amateur’ and ‘youngest contestant’ awards in this race. It was one of the proudest a moments of my life.
4.) What was your parents reaction to it?
My mom was already in the sport. In the first race, my dad was there and I had toppled the car. The car was completely broken. My mom had an intuition that I had been racing but my dad took the fall for me just so that my mom does not come to know and my racing career is not hindered. After about 2-3 years later and after winning a lot of races, my dad and I came clean to my mom about my racing. She was shocked but at the same time, she was happy for me.
5.) Which has been your favorite car up to date?
Swift, I got that in my fourth race. Moreover, I had learned how to drift in that car and so it was really special to me.
6.) How has this field contributed to your growth?
I have come a long way from what I was when I first stepped into that car, till now. I was awarded the fastest amateur driver in my first race but, back then, I was only about aggression and courage. Now, with age and experience, my racing is also about the skills required and the tactics along with aggression and courage. Having said that, I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I always take advice from seniors, experiment on the track and try to do new things.
7.) What is your dream?
My dream is to represent India internationally in racing and for that I am putting in my best possible efforts. I try to utilize my free time by practicing and polishing my skills. I take part in as many races as possible to gain experience, see where I am lagging and to improve on that. Racing is what gives me happiness and satisfaction.
8.) Would you like to share some insights with the readers?
“Rallying is not a very well-recognized sport in India but it is picking up and will be famous soon.” Every young guy has a desire to drive rash. Get into the sport. Auto-cross is giving a platform to all youngsters to show their skills and talents and be recognized for them.”You have the spirit, The car, The platform, come show it here.”