Dubai: Dubai-born teenager Aliyyah Koloc clinched both the overall and T3 class FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas drivers’ titles on home soil in the season closing Dubai International Baja.
Taking place over two days, the Dubai International Baja was also the final preparatory event for Aliyyah and her Buggyra ZM Racing team ahead of the Dakar Rally which takes place over 15 days in nearby Saudi Arabia in January.
The title success was shared across the team come the end of the weekend, with Stéphane Duplé picking up the navigators’ title and Buggyra collecting the overall Teams’ crown.
“If you would have asked me before if I expected this result one year ago, I would have said no. This is really unexpected,” said Martin Koloc, Buggyra ZM Racing team principal.
“The Dubai International Baja was the last training for the team before the Dakar Rally. We still found some things which need to be done, we are almost there but we need to fix some small things in the team to be perfect for Dakar. But if we summarise the project of Aliyyah and Yasmeen in the past three years, we have had the results, we have built a competitive car, Aliyyah winning the Middle East championship this year, my expectations for Dakar are really high.”
The team entered two cars for the final round of the Middle East Cup in Dubai, with Aliyyah and Stéphane partnered by Téo Calvet and experienced former biker turned navigator Taye Perry.