Aliyyah Koloc makes debut entry in 2023 Dakar Rally at 18 years of age

Aliyyah Koloc makes debut entry in 2023 Dakar Rally at 18 years of age

Aliyyah Koloc makes debut entry in 2023 Dakar Rally at mere 18 years of age. In such a short period of time developing skills to tackle the world’s most challenging race, Aliyyah commands utmost respect for due diligence on completing the 3 year programme to compete against the world’s best Rally driver’s under Buggyra Racing Team.

Aliyyah Koloc competing in 2022 FIA Middle East Cup for Cross Country Baja’s at Dubai International Baja Image: Buggyra Racing

In fact, the strategy of enabling Aliyyah to race 2023 World Rally Raid Championship Round One at Dakar has been diverse in scope and scale over the course of 3 years. From competing to Truck and Karting races, to Nascar and 24H race events, to road circuit racing in GT3 and GT4 competitions, to behind the wheel in side by side T3 category in Rally and Baja’s, Aliyyah has displayed unique talent of adaptability to perform across multi-disciplines ahead of racing 15 days in the sands of Saudi Arabia.

The reasoning behind Aliyyah’s developmental programme breaks traditional thought on preparation to race Dakar, which has relied on rider’s and driver’s further developing their skills racing Rally and Baja’s within FIA and FIM World Championships through-out each season.

Such planning and execution of race programme has prompted Aliyyah to stretch and increase her physical, mental, and technical capabilities which would have traditionally taken alot longer to achieve. Competing in road circuits events has honed focus on close contact racing, which relies on acceleration and braking to produce results on track. Testing and competing in Rally and Baja’s has re-worked driving skills along-side co-driver Stéphane Duplé which has refined communications on navigation ahead of Dakar in 3 days time.

Aliyyah Koloc competing in 2022 FIA Middle East Cup at Dubai International Baja Image: Buggyra Racing

With Aliyyah’s father, Martin Koloc at the helm of Buggyra Racing Team, the carefully crafted strategies to develop Aliyyah’s racing career brings credence to her debut entry in 2023 Dakar Rally. Results for 2022 season have been outstanding, with Aliyyah enhancing her skills and talent racing FFSA GT Championship, 12H Spa-Francorchamps, Euro Nascar, 24H Barcelona, 24H Sebring and FIA Middle East Cup of Cross Country Baja’s in Qatar, Ha’il and Dubai.

Taking the overall win in 2022 FIA Middle East Cup of Cross Country Baja’s in T3 category, Aliyyah has plenty to feel confident about as the Dubai born teenager puts everything in context:

Aliyyah: ‘Since I started my racing career three years ago, I have been driving many different cars from trucks, GT, rally, etc. It is not easy to switch back and forth, especially going from off-road back to circuits because you have to go from being very precise when you are on track with braking points etc, to racing Rally. However, what I have learnt in circuit racing helps me a lot when going back to Rally.

Aliyyah Koloc and Buggyra Racing Team winning 2022 FIA Middle East Cup of Cross Country Baja’s Image: Buggyra Racing Team

For my racing now, I practice a lot on the simulator and also go to a training center for drivers (321 Perform) where they help me improve my physical and mental training. I also test a lot in the desert at our base in Dubai where I work with my team to learn the mechanics.

I’m very grateful to get the opportunity to drive all these different disciplines. I think the best way to overcome these hard situations is experience them and learn from them. I have a really great group of people who support and teach me. I have had a lot of practice but there’s always going to be new challenges and sometimes you don’t know how to react. But for sure I would say driving in all these different categories helps me to become a more complete driver. For example truck racing and Nascar have more contact than GT, so that has taught me how to react when those situations arise. GT3 and GT4 has taught me how to react quicker because of the fast speeds.

It’s my first Dakar and this one is said to be even harder than the previous years because there will be more dunes and it is longer, so my goal is the make it to the finish and we will see about the results.

I was able to attend the last three Dakar Rallies and watch from up close. I’m looking forward to competing and experiencing it all first-hand behind the wheel now and especially with the best group of people who support me. I’m partnered with Stéphane Duplé who has Dakar experience and we have raced together this year which went really well, so I’m really happy to have him as my navigator. We also have Josef Machacek in the team who is a Dakar legend with so much experience, so he’s been mentoring me which I’m really grateful for’.

Dakar Rally December 31 to January 15. Header photo: Aliyyah Koloc Image: Buggyra Racing Team

Words: Sharon Cox.


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