Dubai-born teenager Aliyyah Koloc speeds up Dakar Rally preparations
Aliyyah teamed up with a new navigator for Hail, teaming up for the first time with another Frenchman, the experienced Stéphane Duplé at the wheel of Buggyra ZM Racing Can-Am DV21 in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class.
“The objective here was to gain as much experience as possible in preparation for the Dakar next year and to retain the lead in the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross Country Bajas,” Aliyyah said. “It was also my first event with Stéphane, he’s a really nice guy, and a very good mechanic and navigator, so it will be a very good experience for me.”
The first real test of the rally came on Friday morning, with the 101km stage around Jubbah, north of the rally base in Hail. A slightly longer second stage – at 127km – brought the crews back to Hail as the first stage drew to a close. Aliyyah and Stéphane finished eighth overall and second in the T3 Middle East category, just 1m46s off the time of the leading class.
“It was a good day, no problems,” Aliyyah said. “A very fast stage of 230 km more or less and it was very fast all the way on the sand which was really fun because I like these kind of surfaces. I felt good with the way it went. passed today.
Two more stages followed on Saturday, with the action concentrating around Farhaniyah west of Hail. Aliyyah took advantage of the morning rain and hard-packed sand in the stages to gain ground, eventually finishing fourth on the stage.
This allowed Aliyyah to record a superb fifth overall in the final results, second in the T3 category and first among the Middle East Cup riders at the finish.
The final event in Aliyyah’s preparation for the Dakar Rally takes place on the opening weekend of December with the Dubai International Baja, which runs from December 1-3.
The top-five result and ME Cup victory means Aliyyah has increased her points lead in the Middle East Cup heading into the final round of the year in Dubai by a seven-point margin over her nearest rival.