You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Narain Karthikeyan, Karun Chandhok, Armaan Ebrahim and all, you guys better be careful. There is a new bloke in the circuit, Rohit Koul. He missed the Indian Grand Prix by whisker but very soon there will be no stopping. Remember the name, Mandate said so!
When people of his age are confused about their career and future, Rohit Koul knows exactly what he wants, burn some rubber! This Delhi lad is destined to hold the steering and play with the speed. “I started driving when I was nine. Either I could have my feet at the accelerator or brake or I could look out the front, so I only used the hand-brake to drive. My toys were pistons and spark-plugs and my favorite outings involved engines, grease and motor oil. By the time I figured out how to hold a cricket bat, I was already devising strategies on how to overtake opponents in go-karting,” says the twenty three year old racer.
So what’s the plan? When are we going to see you driving Formula 1 (F1), standing on the podium, splashing that champagne on pit-girls? “Well I want to be like Fernando Alfonso for his strategizing, Lewis Hamilton for his style and Narain Karthikeyan for his heart. If I can have all three, I can always better myself!” Okay! Not a bad idea, simple and bang on the target. But with sudden change in his pitch, knowing what he missed out this year at Indian Grand Prix. “Yes I was going to be the part of MRF 2012/2013 Challenge at the Buddh International Circuit. But in motorsport’s world financial support is the biggest challenge. This is an expensive sport and talent means nothing till you have the funds. Hope more corporate sees the value Formula racing brings to the table and start supporting youngsters.”
“I have been driving Formula style since 2004. With hard work, team effort and God willing I hope to be racing in F1 by 2015,” with those fire in eyes he smiles. “My dream is to become an F1 Champion from India, not only to be in F1. In short my dream is to win not to drive.” Hope these words of wisdom will ring some bell in the ears of Indian senior drivers. He is not just big mouthing but got some impressive experience in his kitty bag. “My biggest achievement was when I drove for Australian Formula 3, because from in that series I learnt about track, strategies, team work, how to drive through the corner.”
What worth mentioning here is that champions are not made in one day, so are the racers. This speed master got his basics right. Starting his career from Go-karts, which he learnt in Ontario, Canada. Then went to Silverstone Single-seater Racing school for racing series where he stood first out of four races in Brand Hatch Circuit. He got the experience to drive in two practice session of Australian Formula Ford in 2007 (Eastern creek international raceway New South Wales and Sandown International raceway Victoria) where he was second in both practice session. Then he stood first in Bertil Roos Winter Series Championship 2009. And if that is not enough, in 2011 went to Yas Marine Circuit in Abu Dhabi for Formula Yas 3000 which is racing series for three days, he stood first in all of three races. Above all, he was the only Indian to participate in BAARC Formula Renault 2.0. Was not that impressive?
As the Spider-man says, with great power comes great responsibility. He knows that they are many who want to be on that driver’s seat. “This sport is not about speed, power or energy – it’s about strategy, focus and determination. It’s tough – multiple G-forces are not a joke. But nothing beats the dream of representing your motherland and making her proud.” Also knowing that there are not many of his breed in this country, “In India less people are into Motorsports world because of lack of a comprehensive system where we penetrate the grass-roots and lack of funds to develop new infrastructure. To become racing driver, money is the first major hurdle to tackle.”
By the way, after some serious talk, he is single and very much ready to mingle. So anybody out there reading this? If not on the track then on Indian heavy traffic he rides his Honda. “For last six months I am driving Honda Civic, but my dream is to own Lamborghini.” Though it may sound boring to some but the only thing he likes to do is taming the beast. “I love to spend my time inside cars and under their hoods, fixing engines, improving fuel efficiency, working on aerodynamic models and understanding the next generation of these high-speed demons!”
Way to go dude, very soon you are going to have your blaze of glory. Just make sure that you hit that accelerator on right time, not late like you did for our meeting!
(Published in Mandate Dec ’12, Page No. 156)