Buggyra ZM Racing’s Aliyyah Koloc secures the top spot in the Lady Trophy at the NASCAR GP Czech Republic as she also brought home her first victory in the Junior Trophy on Autodrom Most.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series debutants Buggyra ZM Racing, who considered Czech Republic as their home base, took part in their first ever home EuroNASCAR race at Autodrom Most on 3-4 September with Aliyyah Koloc behind the wheel of the No. 29 Gleec Ford Mustang on both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2.
Buggyra started on a positive note during Friday’s Practice session as Aliyyah was able to finish 14th and 7th in the combined timesheets for ENPRO and EN2 respectively. Unfortunately, she was unable to replicate the pace in Qualifying as she qualified in 21st position for the Saturday ENPRO race and 12th for the EN2 race.
Progressing forward from 21st on the grid was Aliyyah’s goal in the first ENPRO race, something that she achieved almost immediately as she was able to avoid the Big One that happened in the first corner to put herself in sixth place for the restart. A slow restart relegated her to 15th, but she fought back and in the end she managed to bring home her first Junior Trophy win with a 12th place finish after 17 grueling laps.
“The first race was really chaotic, there were a lot of accidents and I managed to avoid them. I started from P21 and ended the first lap in P6. In the end, I had some contact and lost many positions but finished P12 and first in the Junior category, so I was very happy with the result,” said Aliyyah on her performance in the Saturday EuroNASCAR PRO race.
Three Safety Car periods during the Saturday EuroNASCAR 2 race meant that there were little racing laps for Aliyyah to have, but she was still able to score an 8th place finish despite having numerous contacts. She also took home the top honors in the Lady Trophy as a result.
“This was a very long race, with a lot of safety car laps and not many actual racing laps. It wasn’t the most enjoyable race to be honest, but I finished in the top 10 and was first in the female class, so that was a good performance,” said Aliyyah.
Aliyyah once again took home the top spot in the Lady Trophy during the Sunday EN2 race, although the race itself proved to be a harder one for the 18-year old Emirati driver. A spin due to her brakes locking up in the second lap almost sent her a lap down, but a Safety Car period due to contact between her Lady Trophy rival Luli del Castello and Claudio Remigio Cappelli allowed her to stay in the lead lap.
“I had some contact at the start of the race and then I lost the brake cooling, so I was always locking the brakes and it was really hard. But we had a few safety cars again, so I was able to secure a good result in the end,” explained Aliyyah on her issues.
The issues, unfortunately, continued in the ENPRO race later that day as she brought her car to the pits and retired during the formation lap. She was due to start 19th alongside Frederic Gabillon, EuroNASCAR PRO’s most experienced driver, in the second ENPRO race.
“We noticed a problem with the gearbox on the formation lap and we tried to continue but it wasn’t possible, so unfortunately, we had to pull off before the start,” admits Aliyyah in the post-race press release.
The mechanical issues on Sunday left Aliyyah’s father and Buggyra’s team owner Martin Koloc to conclude that his team had a mixed weekend on their home race, although he praised his daughter’s performance across the four races held at Autodrom Most.
“This weekend could have been good, could have been worse. Aliyyah did a great job across the four races but was unlucky with a couple of mechanical issues with her car, but the pace was there and we are already looking forward to the next races,” said Martin Koloc on his team’s performance at Most.
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.