THE NEED FOR SPEED. Any list of up-and-coming Indonesian athletes would have to include Rio Haryanto, a young professional race car driver who has already achieved a great deal on the circuit but is only now starting to shift into his highest gear
This year, he became the very first Indonesian to qualify for an FIA superlicense, which allows holders to drive in the Formula 1 Grand Prix. “I love competition and I love speed. That is what has motivated me since I was a very young boy,” said Rio, who was introduced to the world of racing at the age of six. He started to compete at a professional level in 2008, when he was only 15-years-old, by competing in three Asia-based series: the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, Formula Asia 2.0, and Formula BMW Pacific. After a strong finish in those races, especially Formula Asia 2.0, he was eager to continue climbing the racing ladder.
Rio said one of his biggest triumphs came in 2011, when he was racing in Istanbul Park as part of the GP3 series. Despite his competition being made up of highly-ranked and experienced European racers, he managed to best all of them and came in first. “I was very proud and happy when our national flag was raised and the Indonesian national anthem played. I was so emotional at that moment, I almost cried.” His continued success on the track allowed Rio to become the first Indonesian ever to test for F1, which he has done in Abu Dhabi and Silverstone, United Kingdom. At only 19-years-old, it looks like nothing will stop him anytime soon. “My aim and dream is definitely to be in an F1 Race within two years,” said Rio, who is currently preparing for his next GP2 tournament in GP2. We can’t wait to see how fast he’ll go in 2013.
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