VIDEO: Successful debut in the French GT4 championship for the Koloc sisters
The first event of the cooperation between Buggyra ZM Racing and Motors Formula Team (MFT) in the competitive French GT4 championship was a success. Twin sisters Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc managed to assert themselves with the strong competition at Nogaro circuit, finishing in the top 10 of the Silver category in both races with their Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The extended Easter holidays brought an unusual schedule for the Coupe de Paques at the Nogaro circuit, with races on Sunday and Monday. The start of the French sports car season was a great event for the city of Nogaro too when all drivers presented themselves and their race cars in the city centre on the eve of the race weekend. It also marked the first race of Buggyra ZM-MFT as the two teams have joined forces to bring more diversity and equality into the sport thanks to a joint Academy program and plans to enter the 24h of Le Mans and the Dakar with drivers and team staff from unusual backgrounds and African descent.
Free Practice and Qualifying
Saturday's free practice sessions were all about finding the best set-up. The team managed to improve the car's handling significantly and did a great job on the tyres. "The car was much better today. I felt much more confident than yesterday. We still have room to improve, but we are on the right road," said Yasmeen Koloc.
In Qualifying, the two sisters took turns behind the wheel of their Mercedes-AMG. Even though it was quite cold, conditions they had not encountered in previous days, the girls set the twelfth fastest time on the grid in their Silver category.
"Forty cars on such a tight track was a challenge during qualifying. It wasn't easy to pull everything together, but it went well. I learned a lot," said a happy Aliyyah Koloc.
Aliyyah also took the start of the first race on Sunday afternoon. She soon began to feel at ease and avoided crashed cars of the competition and gained experience driving behind the safety car. During the third safety car period, the team decided for a pit stop where Yasmeen Koloc took over. She bravely fought off attacks by other cars on the track and thus helped to bring the car home in eighth position in their Silver category.
"I passed several cars and the safety car came out on the track twice. Then Yasmeen took over. She kept her rhythm, we got to the front again. To finish in the top 10 for the first time is a very good result and we are very happy," described Aliyyah Sunday's race.
For Race 2 on Monday, the girls started to move through the field from the first laps. This only difference was that this time Yasmeen took the start. As for Race 1, the girls swapped seats during a safety car period, thus saving a lot of time.
Immediately after having taken over, Aliyyah had to deal with a crisis situation when two competitors collided in front of her Mercedes-AMG. Thanks to her split reaction, she avoided a collision and continued her race, finishing tenth in the Silver category for the Buggyra ZM-MTF team.
Erik Janiš, chief engineer of Buggyra ZM-MTF Team, commented: „We are very happy with the girls' performance. Thanks to the strategy of pitting early, we managed to gain some positions on Sunday and got a good result. The girls raced hard, they had a lot of overtaking manoeuvres. It was the perfect first experience in such a competitive championship."
To illustrate his point, the twins outperformed many of their more experienced competitors as they moved up impressive 26 positions in the overall standings in the two races combined.