Buggyra ZM Racing focusing on positives after early ending at 12H SPA 

News | April 26, 2022

Before an on-track collision led to the Emirati’s team retirement from its 24H SERIES debut, Buggyra ZM Racing was on course for a GT4-class podium at the recent Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS.


Words – James Gent

Images – Petr Frýba / Buggyra ZM Racing

Buggyra ZM Racing’s Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc gained crucial experience from their 24H SERIES debut at this past weeekend’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, despite an on-track clash bringing the Emirati team’s race to a close after just four hours. 


The #416 Mercedes-AMG GT4, prepared for the event by Motors Formula Team, had been well in contention for a GT4 class podium on its first outing at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the early stages, but a heavy collision with the AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS at Les Combes shortly after the fourth hour sadly left both the GT4 and the TCR entries with significant damage. Neither could be repaired in time for Sunday’s restart.


"I'm fine, just pretty shaken up," Yasmeen Koloc explained in an official team communique. “A competitor tried to avoid another car and hit me instead. It was a racing incident and these things happen unfortunatley.”

Retirement aside, the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS debut for Buggyra ZM Racing, which started its weekend with the on-road parade to Malmedy, nevertheless boasted several positives. 


Aliyah Koloc, who teamed with 17-year-old twin sister Yasmeen and European truck racing champion Adam Lacko at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, made an impressive start with the fourth fastest time in her 10-minute qualifying session, despite hitting traffic. Yasmeen also posted the fourth quickest laptime during her respective session, while Lacko improved with the fastest time during his qualifying run. The average of all three was enough to secure a GT4 front row starting spot on the team’s series debut. 


Aliyah continued her solid form by retaining 2nd in-class at the start and keeping the ALFAB Racing McLaren 570S GT4 within striking range during the opening stages. The UAE team even implemented an aggressive fuel strategy to take the category lead after the first hour. 

“We tried to take advantage of the large capacity of our tank and drove to the limit,” explains chief engineer Erik Janiš, a 24H SERIES stalwart who most recently took SP2-class at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2019 with RTR Projects. “We extended our drivers' stints as much as we could. We used Adam in particular as much as possible. In the final  stint, the strategy worked well because we didn’t have to do another pit stop.”


“The start in endurance racing is a bit different to what I'm used to,” Aliyyah Koloc continues. “The leading cars already had the green light while I was still spinning the wheels in the last corner, so I lost a little bit of time. But otherwise I had a great race. It's the first time I've raced at Spa and it's also my first time in a long endurance race. It's a completely new experience and I really enjoyed it. Spa-Francorchamps is a circuit that every driver wants to race at. I already know it's one of my favourite tracks.”


“I got in the car after an hour and a half, knowing that I only had to do one stint,” explains the Czech Republic’s Lacko, who made his first 12-hour start at Spa since 2010. “But because we had the so-called Code 60 twice, which means slowing down to 60kph, I stayed in the car for two hours. It made me remember the old days when I used to do endurance races.”

With the GT4 frontrunners on opposing fuel strategies during the opening stages – encouraged by six previous Code 60 caution periods – Buggyra ZM Racing continued to run ahead of eventual 3rd-placed Veidec Racing by JJ Motorsport until its collision with AC Motorsport. The #416 Mercedes completed 66 laps prior to its retirement. 


Despite the disappointment, Aliyah and Yasmeen Koloc, who competed in a round of the French FFSA GT4 series at Nogaro in preparation for Spa, have expressed an interest in returning to the 24H SERIES. Discussions are on-going for possible entries at this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA on 9-10-11 September and the 2023 Hankook 24H DUBAI on 13-14-15 January at the sisters’ home circuit, the Dubai Autodrome. 

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