Aliyyah Koloc begins final preparation phase for her Dakar debut at the Hail Baja in Saudi Arabia this weekend
The FIA Middle East Cross Country Baja Cup enters its second half of the championship this weekend. Buggyra ZM Racing driver Aliyyah Koloc is currently in the lead, ahead of experienced rally raid legend Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The second half of the championship kicks off with the Hail Baja which takes place from 10-12 November in the North Western part of Saudi Arabia. Aliyyah Koloc, in a Can-Am DV21, will have 40-year-old Frenchman Stéphane Duplé as her co-driver for the first time. The 18-year-old teenager currently leads the FIA Middle East Cross Country Baja Cup standings after the first two events in Jordan and Qatar earlier this year. She has an 11-point lead over four-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
"In Hail, the final phase of the preparation for my Dakar debut this January begins. It's good to be racing in Saudi Arabia as it will give me an idea of the local terrain I will be tackling during the Dakar Rally. It's a great honor to have Nasser as my challenger, it will also be a great test," said the 18-year-old about her battle with the 51-year-old Qatari.
"The Dakar is just around the corner, so every rally leading up to it is an important test for us. Not just for Aliyyah but also for the car. We have continuously improved the Can-Am all year but all critical parts are still always tested best in real race mode," said Buggyra's head of communications, Jan Kalivoda.
The event, which is also part of the FIA Cross Country Baja World Cup, is divided into three stages that start and finish in Hail. A total of 811.28 km await the drivers, more than half of which are timed sections.
The series culminates in early December with the final round of the Dubai International Baja in the United Arab Emirates from 1-3 December.
Saudi Baja - Hail 2022
Stage 1, part 1 - November 10
Total length: 63.40 km. Time section: 18 km
Stage 1, part 2 - November 11
Total length: 388.18 km. Timed section: 158.59 km
Stage 2 - November 12
Total length: 359.70 km. Timed section: 184.00 km
FIA Middle East Cross Country Baja Cup standings (after 2 of 4 events)
1st Aliyyah Koloc 46 pts, 2nd Nasser Al-Attiyah 35 pts, 3rd Hamad Al-Harbi 33 pts, 4th Yazeed Al Rajhi and Yasmeen Koloc both at 29 pts.