Bani Yadav

The Rally Star

Bani Yadav, the fastest woman rally driver in India and the only woman in India to win all major rallies that took place in the country. At age 43, she broke the shackles of society to drive her way into history. She loves a challenge and is making her mark in a male dominated sport.

Bani Yadav is India’s top Woman rallyist. She is the only woman in India to have won major rally titles in the women’s category as well as while competing against men. Her biggest achievements have been The Asia Cup of the Indian Rally Championship (IRC) 2015 in the women’s category, as it was the first time ever in Indian Motorsport that a woman won it. The second one was also in The Indian Rally Championship Rally De North 2016, where for the first time, a woman driver in India had come in an overall 2nd position.

She is married into an extremely orthodox family that follows the traditional purdah system for the daughter-in-laws. Hence, for her to break the shackles of society and to create records has been an extremely difficult task. Bani burst onto the rally scene in the year 2013 at the age of 43. She started her journey at small track events. Soon, she went on to create history rally in the Indian rally scene.

She has increased her portfolio by taking part in various formats of rallying like cross country rallies, autocross events, IRC Championships and TSD events. She raced on to set new records and is today recognized as one of the top rally drivers in the country. This gutsy driver loves to compete amongst men, proving that women are no less. She has raced in some of the toughest rallies and on the most dangerous tracks held in country.

This rising star blazed on to win in the women’s category Maruti Suzuki 16th Raid De Himalayas (2014), which is one of the most difficult rallies in the world due to its high attitude. In the women’s category she won the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm Rally (2015), The Asia Cup of the IRC (2015) in class 2000, Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Rally (2015) and the XVI Speed Sprint (2015).

While competing with best female and male drivers she bagged the 4th position in the Asia Pacific Rally Cup (2015) and The Coffee Day India Rally (2015). Bani won the 1st position in the Diesel Open (2015) and the 2nd position in the 1600-2000 cc category. She won the Overall 3rd position in the 1650 cc category in the Maruti Suzuki National Autocross Championship (2016) and the Overall 2nd position in the Rally De North IRC (2016)
Bani was recently awarded The Outstanding Woman in Motorsports for Rallying in 2016 by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). This makes her the first woman rally driver to be felicitated with one of the highest honour in Indian Motorsports. She was also bestowed with the Woman’s Achievers Award by the Amity University for the year 2016.

She was a speaker at the United Nations #HEFORSHE Campaign in India to promote gender equality. Bani is also actively involved in women’s rights issues and collaborates with many NGOs working towards women’s empowerment and the upliftment of the economically backward to provide employment opportunities for them.

Besides, this Bani is working with NGOs fighting against the cruelty of animals. She helps to foster stray animals at her home till they can be adopted by families. She is promptly engaged in caring for stray dogs and cats in her localities.

In order to promote motorsports among women in India, she plans to launch ‘Drive with Bani.’ Here, Bani plans to encourage and train not only women who want to drive, but also to popularise the thrill of motorsports to underprivileged children, wheelchair bound people, rape survivors and acid attack victims.

This speedster’s passion for motorsport shines on. She has now forayed into the world of FIA Formula 4 racing. She is the first woman in India to drive a Formula 4 car outside India at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit.

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