For the first time, after 15.000 kilometers in 11 months, Aliyyah Koloc will not see the finish line of an off-road rally at the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico due to engine issues
Rally Raid
April 5, 2024

For the first time in 11 months and after 15.000 kilometers, 19-year-old Aliyyah Koloc and her navigator Sébastien Delauney are forced to abandon a rally. Due to an engine issue with their Red-Lined REVO T1+, they will not see the finish line of the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico, round three of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, scheduled to finish on April 7. In addition, being used to the sand and heat of the Gulf States, the mud and slippery terrain of Portugal was a completely new experience for Aliyyah and a steep learning curve. Nevertheless, the young racer, who combines a season in GT4 endurance racing and off-road rallying with Buggyra ZM Racing, did well in the highest category of the competition, the Ultimate class (formerly T1+).

„The conditions here in Portugal are really something I am not used to, pretty crazy. Very muddy and wet. I had to be very careful in the second part because it was very slippery and narrow. We are quite far back but it was a good learning today. Driving with the T1+ is really nice because there is a windshield that protects from the mud. So I stayed dry compared to the buggy. The overall feeling is good though,“ Aliyyah explains her first taste of driving in the mud after the end of Day 1.

Her navigator, Sébastien Delauney, adds: „Day 1 was OK with a totally new terrain for us. The first part was quite OK, it was wide but technical. However, the second part was extremely slippery, very narrow, in the forest the trees were very close. Difficult for us but we managed. Aliyyah adapted the speed constantly, was conservative when needed, and pushed when needed. For the first time, I let her go as she wanted to, and that is a big improvement. I am happy because she did it from the first kilometer onwards.“

On Day 2, the beginning of the stage had some more hard tracks than the day before. Sébastian explains: „We drove quite well and overtook a few T1+ cars that were in front of us. But then we started to slowly lose oil pressure. We were trying to find the reason but before we could do something, the oil pressure dropped to zero and the engine didn’t run properly anymore.“ Aliyyah and Sébastien got eventually stuck in the middle of a big mud track and couldn’t restart the engine. They spent over two hours helping other competitors to get out of the mud before the team reached them and towed the car back to the service area. Aliyyah adds: „The mechanics will now try to find and repair the engine problem. Hopefully, they will find a solution, so that we can start again tomorrow.“

That wasn’t meant to be as the issue proved to be irreparable. Buggyra CEO and team principal Martin Koloc explains: „That’s motorsport. We had an engine problem, something broke, and we couldn’t start the engine again. We cannot continue the rally and now we have to find out the reasons, find the particular part of the engine that failed. We will continue shortly but unfortunately not in this rally. Nevertheless, Aliyyah and Seb did an incredible job. It was the first time for Aliyyah to drive in such conditions, in the mud, with a lot of trees, and she did really well. She is improving with each kilometer. With Seb, they are growing together, and the whole team is working really well together too.“

The team will now return to the factory in the Czech Republic to work on the car and have a couple of days to regroup before they will be back for the next round of the GT4 endurance season, the Spa 12 Hours from April 19-21. After Spa, the team will test a new suspension for Aliyyah’s car to be able to update the rally program throughout the summer.    

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