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Yuvraj Rajput: The 11-year-old aiming to become Kenya’s leading race driver

His favorite part of racing is adrenaline and speed, and the faster he does it the better for him.

This is Yuvraj Rajput, who at just 11 years old, has back to back Bambino Class National Autocross Championship titles.

Yuvraj or ‘Yuvi” as he is popularly known in racing circles racked up his second career  Kenya National Autocross Championship title at the penultimate race held at the twisty Corners racetrack in Kiambu after finishing second behind Amman Ganatra.

After the ninth race meeting, Yuvraj announced that he will be graduating from Bambinos to the more competitive 2WD Non Turbo Junior Class where he intends to face tougher opponents. Next year Yuvi will be turning 12 and will be eligible to join the Junior Class.

“It’s such a good opportunity to always try out something new. It reaches a time in a sporting career when you feel you need some fresh impetus ,” Yuvi, already a Kenyan karting champion in 2018, explained, adding. “My dad has promised to look into buying me a new 2WD if I pass my end of term exams and I cannot wait to acquire and test it. The new buggy will be 3 times the power of my current Magi-Bug and also a 5 speed manual.  I feel really confident going into the next season.  Who knows what the future holds? I want to be a professional race driver in the WRC or even Formula 1. I started my career in tarmac races for karting. The junior category features drivers between the age of 12 and 16 so I will be more than ready next year.”

When asked what moving a berth higher to the next level would mean to his racing, he quips simply: “A great exposure, to prepare me for future races when I turn 18 years in the next six years to come.”

The National Autocross and Karting Championships are, by and large, the breeding ground for future racing stars in Kenya.

Big names like Baldev Chager, Quentin Mitchell and Eric Bengi have honed their skills in circuit racing.

Despite his stellar performance in Autocross, Yuvraj believes education is key to success.

“Classwork always comes first. So it’s during our spare time that we squeeze in time for practice.”

Yuvi is a second generation driver. His dad Kirit Rajput is a Kenya National Rally Championship Division 3 driver, SPV class winner and the immediate former Open Class Autocross Champion.

‘” As a second generation driver, there is great support from my parents . But then again the pressure is immense as people expect you to drive as fast as your dad,” Yuvi said.

Yuvi and his kid sister Kiana race for Duma Racing with Wayne Fernandes as the Team Manager.

Kiana is technically the champion in waiting at Pee Wee Class where she has to race in the closing round on the last weekend of November.

“Yuvraj already has the raw talent and raw speed to go far in motorsport. This is evident whenever he sets foot onto the cockpit,” said Dad Kirit.

Aged 8, Yuvraj became a Kenyan 60cc karting champion. He added another title in 2018 in Bambino Class but when  Covid-19 happened in 2020 he could not defend his title due to the Ministry of Health protocols which banned social gathering.

He still remained the champion and successfully defended his title at the weekend’s penultimate race organized by Sikh Union Club.

“I’d love to be a professional racing driver and possibly make it to the summit of racing,” Yuvraj says with the bold demeanor of a champion.

“My dad, my sister and my god father Wayne have always extended moral support to me being a motorsport driver,” said Yuvi.

“Karting was my first form of motorsport. I was very young when dad introduced me to karting so it helped shape my driving lines.” My dad tells me that I was still drinking milk from a baby bottle when I first started Karting.

For now, Yuvi is balancing his driving passion, golfing, riding his motorbike, cycling, and playing basketball with school.

“When I get home from school I get my homework done . I play in the right wing for my School football team, go golfing at Windsor, though I’m yet to get a handicap. My Dad is very supportive of my many hobbies, though motorsport comes first in that list.

Earlier in the year, Yuvraj took part in his first ever Enduro in Kedong in his KTM 65cc dirt bike and came second overall out of 50 entries in his first attempt.

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