After its maiden 24H SERIES run last year at Spa-Francorchamps, UAE’s Buggyra Racing makes its series return at this weekend’s Hankook 6H ABU DHABI, less than a week after lead driver Aliyyah Koloc’s Dakar Racing debut.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba/ Buggyra ZM
Aliyyah Koloc makes her 24H SERIES return this weekend with UAE team Buggyra Racing less than one week after completing her maiden run on the formidable Dakar Rally.
As part of the Buggyra Academy ZM line-up with navigator Stéphane Duplé, Koloc completed more than 5,000km across 14 stages between 31 December and 15 January in Saudi Arabia en-route to 33rd in the T3 Lightweight Prototype category. This weekend, the Dubai-born racer swaps the Can-Am buggy for a Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the 2023 Hankook 6H ABU DHABI.
“I really enjoyed Dakar, it was an unique experience,” Koloc explains. “But there hasn't been much time to think about it because I now have another challenge ahead of me.”
Asked whether it will take time transitioning from cross-country rallying to circuit racing in such a short space of time, she continues: “It doesn't give me any problems. All I have to do is drive some laps in the car and I'm back in my element. I'm really looking forward to Abu Dhabi.”
The Czech team will contest the GT4 class alongside Simpson Motorsport, fresh from its 2nd in-class at last weekend’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, and Ram Racing, the latter of which also makes its 24H SERIES return after taking class victory at last year’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. This marks Buggyra’s first 24H SERIES start since last year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, at which Koloc competed with her sister Yasmeen and former European Truck Racing champion Adam Lacko. Buggyra will no doubt hope for improved fortunes after its Spa run was curtailed early following a heavy collision with the AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 four hours in.
Aliyyah Koloc will be joined by Lacko and two-time European Truck Racing champion David Vrsecky in Abu Dhabi, the latter of whom is also dovetailing his duties as Buggyra ZM’s chief designer to get behind the wheel.
“I'm used to racing and advising Aliyyah, so it won't be the first time I find myself in this double role,” Vrsecky explains. “She is a very skilled and teachable pilot. It is important for endurance racing that she can run consistently fast times.”
“I have never raced [at Yas Marina],” Lacko continues. “I tested it on the simulator, so hopefully I learned it well. I enjoy racing in a GT4 car, it's a nice ride. With David and Aliyyah we will do everything to get the best result.”
After today’s private test sessions, official Free Practice for the 2023 Hankook 6H ABU DHABI gets underway on Saturday 21 January at 09.00 hrs local time, followed by 55 minutes of Qualifying at 13.00 hrs later that afternoon. The six-hour endurance event itself is scheduled to begin at 16.00 hrs that same day and run uninterrupted until 22.00 hrs. The event will also determine the first winners of CREVENTIC’s new Middle East Trophy.