The most surprising, challenging and encouraging thing about him is his enthusiasm. News on Sunday catches up with the master race man in the hope of stealing some insight into what keeps a speed addict moving.
What has been your best moment in your racing career so far?
One of the best moments so far was to win one of the Anjalay National Slalom in 2009 while co-driving with my bother-in-law in the Evo9. We were just faster than anyone during all the 6 laps given. I was just sixteen and standing on the top of the podium was memorable.
How does your family feel about you racing?
Well, they respond positively to it. Nonetheless, there is some kind of lurking fear that things may go wrong, like the occurrence of an accident. This is because they care about me. But I must admit that my whole family support me and pray for me.
What attracted you to motorsport at such a young age?
I guess it’s in the blood. I have always been passionate about cars. As a child I used to collect car models and I had a wide range of them. As I grew older, my passion got fuelled when I learnt about my uncle’s participation in rallies. Very often back then, my brother-in-law (Shahnawaz Caunhye) who also happens to be a source of inspiration to me, would give me a ride in his car. It was so much fun. I think the rush of adrenaline is what attracted me the most.
What did you learn from coming second in the National Slalom championships?
First of all, I learnt about the benefits of having supporters. It is indeed a great moral booster. Secondly I understood the importance of having a positive attitude. Since the very beginning I expected a place on the podium and it turned out to be true. Moreover, I realised that the driver is more important than the car itself. Although I was using road tyres as compared to my competitors who used Semi-slick tyres (Better Grips tyres), I’ve been able to outperform them. I also came to know that my team (X-club) is reliable and the fact that I came second in tow keeps me motivated. I hope I will be able to make it to the first place.
You obviously have a lot of innate driving talent. Who’s been coaching you on your driving skills?
Yes, sometimes I feel I was born to be a driver. And all the coaching stuffs are handled by Shahnawaz Caunhye. He even taught me about the mechanical and electronical aspects of a car. Moreover, he helped me in becoming a rally driver in very little time. He is the one who prepares and checks my car before a race and motivates me for bigger projects. Also, on my trip to UK (Nov -Dec 2011) , my uncle Djemil offered me a one-day driving course by Subaru Rally Experience and this has provided me with good experience and helped me to fine tune my skills. I was tutored by WRC driver, Micheal Harris.
Are the majority of people you’re racing against considerably younger or are there various age groups competing?
During all my participations, I have always been the youngest driver. Since I am competing in the highest category (over 200hp), my competitors are mostly experienced or rally drivers.
I’d like to ask you about the advice you’d have for young people – not necessarily aspiring drivers, although that’s fine, too – but maybe more general advice about pursuing your passion and going after your goals.
Although I'm not much of an adviser, I’d still say a few words. I believe that in whatever sport or whatever things you are doing, you should always aim to be the best in your field. My message to the young people is: hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. So, work hard to achieve your goals and make your dreams come true. At first people will criticise you, but if you love what you are doing, never let anyone stop you. If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got to protect it!