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ALIYYAH KOLOC RETURNS TO EURONASCAR RACING THIS WEEKEND AT BRANDS HATCH

ALIYYAH KOLOC RETURNS TO EURONASCAR RACING THIS WEEKEND AT BRANDS HATCH

After their debut in Valencia one month ago, Buggyra ZM Racing returns to action in the EuroNASCAR series for round two of the year at Brands Hatch, United Kingdom, with Aliyyah Koloc behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang. Her twin sister Yasmeen will not participate in the EuroNASCAR series for the time being. At Brands Hatch, the team will also continue its cooperation with Motors Formula Team in their joint #Equality campaign.

In her first race in the series mid-May, Aliyyah Koloc had a very busy weekend, driving in both the Proand EuroNASCAR2 category. Her best result was a 13th place in the Pro category. Before Brands Hatch, she is also second overall in the Ladies‘ Cup.

 

“I’m really looking forward to Brands Hatch. It’s a famous track and we’re going to have an interesting shorter version of it. In EuroNASCAR, you have to be on your toes because the competition is so tight and overtaking is difficult. I’d like to improve my qualifying in particular, to be in a better position for the races,” says Aliyyah.

 

As in Valencia, Aliyyah will start in both races of the EuroNASCAR Pro and EuroNASCAR 2 categories over the course of the weekend. In EuroNASCAR 2, she is fighting for the top spot in the Ladies Cup with only nine points behind the leader.

 

Her sister Yasmeen has decided not to compete in the EuroNASCAR series for the time being as she prefers to have more time to concentrate on her preparation for the 2023 Dakar. „After my accident at the 12h of Spa in April, I have realised that I would like to have more time to concentrate on rally raids and my preparation for the 2023 Dakar. In addition, I will continue testing on circuits to gain more experience,“ explains Yasmeen.

 

At Brands Hatch, Buggyra ZM Racing will also continue its cooperation with Motors Formula Team creating an innovative racing environment with their joint campaign #RESPECT #EQUALITY #DIVERSITY which aims to help young racers from unusual backgrounds to build a career in motorsports.

 

“After our debut race last month, we know we still have a lot to learn, especially regarding the car set-up. Aliyyah has adapted to the new racing environment very quickly. She already knows her way around a tight competitors‘ field very well and isn’t intimidated by more experienced racers. We are really looking forward to the race at Brands Hatch and hope to get a good overall result,” said Ludovic Pezé, Head of Motors Formula Team.

 

The second of six rounds of the EuroNASCAR series will take place on the 1.929 meter Indy version of the track. All drivers have identical cars with eight-cylinder engines and 400 hp.  

 

EuroNASCAR race schedule at Brands Hatch (CEST)

Saturday, 11 June

14:25 EuroNASCAR Pro (38 laps)

17:35 EuroNASCAR 2 (31 laps)

Sunday, 12 June

14:50 EuroNASCAR Pro (38 laps)

17:20 EuroNASCAR 2 (31 laps)

 

Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc to face next desert challenge

Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc to face next desert challenge

Koloc sisters will race in the 2022 Baja Jordan event on February 17-19. “We continue our preparations for the 2023 Dakar Rally, which for we have chosen a championship in the Middle East. Also, it suits us from the logistics point of view, because of our Dubai base. And most importantly, all races will take place on a terrain that is similar to Dakar. That is also going to test qualities of our Can-Am prototypes,” explained the Buggyra ZM Racing’s head of communication Jan Kalivoda.

The Baja Jordan event is a part of the four-round FIA Cross Country Bajas series. This time, the participants will face a route of 664.3 kilometres in total, out of which 471 are timed. The whole event starts and ends in the Port of Aqaba on the shores of the Red Sea. The main part of the event will be in the Wadi Rum desert, in southern Jordan. Amongst the competitors is, for example, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Saudi Arabia), the 3rd best driver overall in the Cars category at this year’s Dakar.

 

Both sisters aim to follow up on their very successful debut at the Hail Rally International in December. While Aliyyah managed to win her first stage and then the whole race as well in the Nations Cup, her sister Yasmeen took 3rd place despite technical issues in the opening and final stages. “The Buggyra Academy couldn’t wish for a better start in the cross-country. On the other hand, it’s already in the past and we need to focus on the present and the future. We see the Baja Jordan event as a preparation for the next year’s Dakar. Also, the girls have some reputation now and we definitely aim to fight for the best result possible,” confirmed Martin Koloc as the team principal and a father of both girls.

 

Just as he said during the Dakar Rally, it is difficult to find a top navigator these days. Yet, the Buggyra team has been successful in this area. While Yasmeen will work together with Stephane Duple, who took part in many Rally Dakars before and already worked with her at the Hail Rally International, Aliyyah is going to be joined by Sebastian Delauney, who finished 4th in the SxS category at Dakar Rally back in 2017. “We really appreciate it. For navigators, it’s much more than just reading a map, or working with roadbooks. It’s about leading the drivers mentally, about communication, gains, and losses. The fact that Stéphane and Sebastian have agreed to work with Buggyra Academy, means something,” said Martin Koloc.

 

The 2021 Dakar Rally winner in the T3 category, Josef Macháček, is preparing for his debut as a mentor and a watcher. “There’re always some ideas and thoughts to discuss, Josef is going to be working with David Vršecký,” added Martin Koloc.

 

After that, the next race is scheduled for late March in Qatar. Then, the series is going to take a break due to the local weather, and the championship will return in early November with a race in Saudi Arabia.

The Road to Dakar – The story of Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc

The Road to Dakar – The story of Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc

Racers. 17 years old. Twin sisters. Their target? Compete in the 2023 Dakar Rally and become the first female twins of African descent to do so.

Meet Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc, the Dakar Sistaz.

Born in Dubai in 2004, with a Seychellois mother and a Czech father, Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc are true cosmopolites. At just 17 they have probably seen more countries than most people do in a life time. When they were younger, they travelled the world with their father, 2-times European Truck Champion Martin Koloc and a motorsport legend in his home country. For the last three years, they have done so to pursue their dream of becoming professional race drivers.

From tennis to motorsport 

If you made a film script out of what happened next, the producer would change it with the word ‘not believable’. In early 2019, Aliyyah followed her father to a winter test and took to racing like a duck to water. “She sat in a huge 5-tonne truck and just drove. And was fast,” Martin remembers. In fact, so fast that when she took up truck racing in the French Championship that same year, she set two world speed records in the same 5-tonne truck. And won her first race in her rookie season in Nogaro. But just because truck racing wasn’t enough, Aliyyah has also been driving karts, in the ESET Cup with GT3 and GT4 and EuroNascar Series as well as some off-road rallies.

 

Yasmeen followed suit a year later, when it became clear that she couldn’t pursue her tennis career. The first time she sat in a race car was in March 2020 in a closed-off area just outside of Prague. “Like my sister, I loved it straight away and since 2020, I have been participating in the Renault Clio Cup and have trained a lot in a Can-Am,” explains Yasmeen. “Training paid off, as only a year later, in 2021, I won my first GT4 Race at the Autodrom in Brno in the ESET V4 Cup.”

 

2022 – The Road to Dakar 

2022 will be Aliyyah’s and Yasmeen’s Road to Dakar Year as next year, they want to compete in the 2023 Dakar Rally. At 18, they will finally be old enough to participate in this mythical event. Until then, they will continue to train hard, compete in the Middle East Championship for Cross Country Bajas, the EuroNascar Series as well as some races of the GT3 and GT4 Endurance Cup.

 

But that wasn’t really the plan at all. 

When they were 4 years old, both started to play tennis – and loved it, to the point of wanting to become professional players. “We wanted to be the next Williams Sisters. And for 10 years we put our heart and soul into it,” says Yasmeen. “We were good, played a lot of high-level national tournaments around Europe. And Yasmeen played ITF tournaments right before the end of her career,” explains Aliyyah. But then, when you think you have it all planned out, life gets in the way. At 14, Aliyyah got injured and had to stop playing tennis. A year later, the same happened to Yasmeen. The surgery that followed made it impossible to pursue a professional career for either of them.

 

“We were devasted at first. I had put my all into a tennis career and it was tough at 15 to admit it was over before it really had begun,” says Yasmeen. But giving up was not an option. “The girls are real fighters,” says Martin Koloc, their father, not without a bit of pride. “If we took the saying ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ literally, we’d drink a lot of lemonade in our house,” says Martin with a smile.

Aliyyah Koloc keeps the championship lead at Baja Qatar, her sister Yasmeen is third

Aliyyah Koloc keeps the championship lead at Baja Qatar, her sister Yasmeen is third

After an opening stop in Jordan, the prestigious FIA Middle East Cup moved to Qatar this weekend. Although Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc, the 17-year-old twin sisters, failed to reach the podium this time, Aliyyah leads both the T3 and cross-category standings, while Yasmeen moved up to third in the T3 category, the same position she holds in the overall standings.

On the first and, as it turned out, unfortunately also the last day of the rally, two stages were held, which were marked by punctures for the Koloc sisters. Aliyyah had two punctures on the first stage, and a third one would have meant the end of the competition for her. Knowing this, she drove the entire second stage very carefully to get to the finish. Yasmeen also had a tire change and in both cases, the co-drivers showed their technical skills as despite the punctures the Koloc sisters were able to overtake WRC driver Dani Sordo. This event also marked a perfect preparation for the marathon stage of the 2023 Dakar which the girls plan to enter.

 

Due to a sand storm and resulting bad visibility, the organzers decided to cancel Day 2 in the girls’ category which was due to have a 200-kilometer stage. The Koloc sisters were optimistic to be able to start as the bikers rode the stage and the helicopters flew without any problems. However, in the end, the organizers decided against it.

 

As a result of the stage cancellation, Yasmeen finished fourth in the T3 category of the Qatar Baja, with Aliyyah taking sixth place. Both girls are in the top three of the championship standings, with Aliyyah leading and Yasmeen in third place.

 

What they said after the rally

 

Aliyyah Koloc: “The stage of the second day got canceled due to bad weather as it was very windy and sandy. The conditions would have been tricky but I think we would have been able to drive nevertheless. I didn’t expect the day to get canceled, so I am a little disappointed that we couldn’t drive. In the end, I finished P6 which was the result of Day 1. I am not very happy with the result and I was hoping to be able to improve on the second day despite the bad weather. On the first day, we had some problems. Yasmeen started a minute behind me but then I had a puncture. After that, we were changing positions constantly which was a bit difficult for the one behind as it was quite dusty and you couldn’t see a lot. But it was fun too because we were fighting with each other. When one made a navigation mistake, the other passed and vice versa. When Yasmeen got a puncture, I was able to pass her and stay ahead for a while until I had a mechanical issue. I had to slow down and Yasmeen ended up passing me for good.”

 

Yasmeen Koloc: “On the way to the start on Day 2, there was a lot of sand and wind which increased even more when we got there, so the organizers decided to cancel the stage in our category. This was quite disappointing because despite it being quite windy and sandy, I think we would have been able to drive. It would have been the first time for me to drive in such conditions and it would certainly have been a good experience. Overall, we finished P4 which is great news for the team, even though we didn’t get to drive today. I am happy and I am aiming for another good position at the next rally.”

 

Sébastien Delauney: “Unfortunately, the stage of Day 2 got cancelled because of the wind. It’s part of cross country rallying and you have to accept it. This is my second race with Aliyyah. It was totally new for her to drive on rocks and without marks on the ground but she’s adapting fast. On the first stage we got two punctures. We discussed it and on the second stage she didn’t make the same mistake again. However, we are leading the Middle Eastern Championship, so I’m happy and it is a good base as we are only halfway through the championship. But if we stay consistent, we can do something nice here.”

 

Stéphane Duple: “The stage on Day 2 got cancelled because of the sand storm. I think it was possible to continue but it is like it is. It’s the third event with Yasmeen and she drove very well. We work well together. She’s improving kilometer after kilometer. She still needs to learn but she is learning fast.”

 

The next Baja will take place in the fall, so the Koloc sisters will start to prepare for the circuit season, especially the NASCAR races.

 

Overall standings FIA Middle East Cup