VIDEO: 12h of Spa - Early ending to ’Buggyra ZM-MFT endurance racing debut
With a host of new experiences but without the joy of a completed race, Buggyra ZM Racing returned from its debut in endurance racing this weekend, the 12-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, part of the highly competitive 24h Series. Unfortunately, the weekend ended early for the team as another car hit the Mercedes-AMG GT4 after 4 hours of racing on Saturday.
The 17-year-old twin sisters, Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc, were joined in Belgium by experienced Czech GT and Touring Car driver Adam Lacko. The goal was clear: to gain as much experience as possible in the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Already in Friday's qualifying, it became clear that Buggyra ZM Racing, which also competes in the 24h Series Championship in cooperation with the Motors Formula Team, had a chance to succeed.
The team battled for the class win in qualifying in which the best times set by all three of the drivers were averaged. Unfortunately, due to the selfish driving of the slower car by one of their competitors Aliyyah Koloc missed to set the fastest time in their class by a small margin. However, second place in the GT4 category was a positive start for the series‘ newcomers.
Saturday saw the first part of the 12-hour race, which was unconventionally split into two days. The first race was 5:30 hours long, with Sunday’s race being 6:30 hours.
Aliyyah Koloc started the race which didn't go quite as she had hoped. But the 17-year-old driver didn't give up and showed very fast pace during her stint. She handed over the Mercedes-AMG to Adam Lacko in second place in her class.
"The start in endurance racing is a bit different to what I'm used to. 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," said a happy Aliyyah Koloc.
European truck racing champion Adam Lacko, who got used to the GT4 car very quickly, also set a great pace. "I got in the car after an hour and a half, knowing that I only had to do one stint. But because we had the so-called code 60 twice, which means slowing down to 60 km/h, I stayed in the car for two hours. It made me remember the old days when I used to do endurance races," said Adam Lacko.
In addition, the team decided on an aggressive strategy and called him in very early for another refuelling, thus saving time on tyre changes and having a great position for the finish of the race.
"We tried to take advantage of the large capacity of our tank and drove to the limit. 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," explained Erik Janiš, chief engineer of Buggyra ZM-MFT.
Yasmeen Koloc was the last to take her seat in the car. Initially she had a good stint but with just under 108 minutes remaining in Saturday's race, an incident stopped her race.
At turn seven, Yasmeen skidded and the spinning Mercedes-AMG hit another car. which was unfortunate as there was nowhere else to go. The damage to her car was substantial and ended the team’s 12h race prematurely. Fortunately, Yasmeen Koloc remained unhurt in the crash.
"I'm fine, just pretty shaken up," said Yasmeen after she got out of the car. A competitor tried to avoid another car and hit me instead. It was a racing incident and these things happen unfortunatley.“