Kollam: “Being a rally driver is risky, but precision decides the winner,” says the current youngest rally driver in the country. Meet Younus Ilyas, 23, from Kollam, who has marked his presence in Indian motorsport with his meritorious achievements including the runner-up position in Jaipur and third place in Coimbatore, both Indian National Rally Championships (INRC). He was also the overall winner of the Popular Rally held at Ernakulam - to name a few rallies held this year alone.
A mechanical engineering graduate who is also running the restaurant business in Kollam, Younus Ilyas started participating in national rally championships since he was 20. “Driving is my passion and I used to attend small events held locally. A visit to witness the Coffee Day Rally held in Chikmagalur in 2011 changed my destiny because I developed an urge to participate in national championships. My first turn was the one held in Coimbatore in 2014 in which I finished third. From then I have been party of the motorsport scene for the last three years,” he says.
Younus Ilyas won the INRC rally in Jaipur in second position last month. His car is a Mitsubishi Cedia which was upgraded to be compatible with INRC II guidelines. "And, stamina is also as important as concentration to win a rally,” he discloses his secret to success.
Younus has Gaurav Gill, the first Indian driver who won the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, as his role model. “It was his driving and his Mitsubishi Cedia that inspired me the most.” Younus is now in the final rounds of preparations for the next level of INRC rally championship to be held in Chikmagalur and the one in Arunachal Pradesh that follows.
“I get exceptional support from my parents, which helped me achieve all this" Younus Ilyas hails from Aysha Mansion at Mangad in Kollam and his parents are Mohammed Ilyas and Sabida. “I dream of becoming an international rally champion sitting behind the wheel of a red Mitsubishi Cedia,” he says. Younus Ilyas aims high.