Aliyyah Koloc to compete in challenging South African Rally Raid Championship in a T1 for the first time
Aliyyah Koloc, who has already committed to racing in the FIA Middle East Championship for Cross-Country Bajas, the FIA W2RC, as well as the 24h Series this year, has added the South African Rally Raid Championship to her busy calendar. This weekend, the 18-year-old Dubai-born racer will participate for the first time in a rally raid in South Africa, making her debut in a T1 car, the highest category in off-road rallying.
For round 2 of the South African championship, the Sugarbelt 400 taking place in Eston in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands on May 12-13, Aliyyah will sit alongside experienced South African co-driver Riaan Greyling in their Buggyra Racing VK50. The car will be prepared by Red-Lined, a well-established South African T1 vehicle manufacturer with whom Buggyra has teamed up for the South African championship.
“I can’t wait for my first race in a T1 car with Red-Lined, and to race in South Africa for the first time. I only got to have two days of testing with the car a few weeks ago, so I’m feeling a bit nervous but mostly excited. Everything is very new to me, so for the race, we’re taking it more as a way to get experience with the car rather than focusing too much on the result,” said Aliyyah Koloc.
Mid-March, Aliyyah completed a successful two-day test in the T1 and T1+ car with Red-Lined, giving her a first taste of the premium category of rally raid racing. The Sugarbelt 400 will be a rather different challenge, as she will be racing in the heavier and more powerful V8 T1 race car, compared to the lightweight T3 vehicle she is used to.
In 2023, Aliyyah will compete in a selection of these notoriously difficult South African rally raids in a T1 or T1+, the highest category in rally raid racing. Her target is to gain as much experience as possible in preparation for her 2024 Dakar participation in the T1 category.
“We started racing in South Africa with our trucks 20 years ago. To come back now to give Aliyyah her first taste of racing in a T1 is an amazing opportunity for her. We are also very happy to work in cooperation with Red-Lined, as they are immensely experienced in T1 car preparations. Rally raids in South Africa are notoriously difficult and challenging, so it is a great learning curve for Aliyyah to come to South Africa to race with such an experienced team as Red-Lined,” said Martin Koloc, Buggyra CEO and team principal.
Aliyyah has already had a busy rally season, starting in January with the Dakar Rally. Racing in the competitive T3 category, she classified 33rd on her debut Dakar. This was followed in March by her so far career-best cross-country result, finishing third among the registered FIA World rally raid championship runners in the T3 category of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round two of the W2RC season. This year, Aliyyah is doubling up her off-road rallying program with racing in the 24h Series in the GT4 category. She comes to South Africa with a win in the GT4 category at the recent 12h of Spa.