The Dakar Sisters: 18-year-old twins to be the rally’s youngest entrants ever | CAR Magazine

The Dakar Sisters: 18-year-old twins to be the rally’s youngest entrants ever

Published: 29 December 2022 Updated: 29 December 2022

► Youngest entrants into the rally ever
► Twins sisters from Dubai
► Yasmneen withdrew due to injury

Dakar. A ruthless rally that has been raging on for over 50 years, spanning multiple continents over its time from the Americas to Africa. With Saudi Arabia hosting this event later this year, the rally has a new set of twins ready to tackle the dunes and dangers of the desert.

Teenage twin sisters Yasmeen and Aliyyah would be the youngest ever entrants into the rally’s almost 6 decades of existence, in a hope to wrestle the treacherous Arabian environment.  

The 14-stage rally that begins on News Years Eve will see competitors traverse a plethora of terrains from the coasts of the Red Sea to the northern mountain ranges of the country finishing in the desert east of the region. 

But even with all these different grounds to cover, a set of twin girls have not been discouraged from entering this treacherous rally.

Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc are two sisters hailing from Czechia. Having to take on gruesome training, battling serious injuries, and facing abuse from spectators, these twins have faced their fair share of challenges before the rally has even begun.

So, who are they?

Aliyyah and Yasmeen are 18-year-old sisters born in the United Arab Emirates who are half Czech and half Sudanese. Even though these girls are twins, their stories as why (and how) they got into motorsport are completely different. Both have their own personalities and set of achievements which makes them a cut above some of their peers. They’re racing for Buggrya Racing, a Czech racing team with a previous win in Dakar in the T3 light prototype category. This year the team will be bringing four Tatra trucks to the Rally as well as two Can Am T3 buggies for the girls.

Aliyyah

Aliyyah didn’t always have an interest in motorsport, growing up she wanted to be a tennis player, and started playing at age 4. However, after 10 years playing the sport, she sustained an injury and she had to stop. Later, at just the age of 14, she and her dad went to do some winter testing where she got behind the wheel for the first time. 

She has two world speed records in the truck category and is also the youngest truck racing winner. However even with all this experience and her achievements, she still has a mixture of emotions for the rally.

“I feel a mix of both nervous and excited, but more excited” she tells us, following with, “You never know how prepared to get, you don’t know what to expect”

Aliyyah recently won the Saudi Baja Hail Rally, a part of the FIA’s Middle East Cup. This places her 1st in the cup title and 2nd in the T3 category overall. 

Yasmeen

Like her sister, Yasmeen also played tennis from a young age, and just like twins do, she also injured herself so she couldn’t participate anymore. But that’s where their stories diverge. Yasmeen started karting in 2019 and raced buggy’s after receiving surgery for her injury.  It was when she started driving the buggies, her curiosity in the Dakar Rally grew. “When I started racing with the buggies, I fell in love with it”

She stepped into her first proper race car in 2020 at an airport and has been racing since. Now racing AMG GT4s alongside her sister, the 18-year-old is a TC-2.0 endurance champion where she outperformed other Renault Clio drivers.

Of course, there are still challenges that face her, even though there is the confidence to complete it. Yasmeen recently sustained another wrist injury and is currently undergoing physical therapy to make sure she is rally ready. Martin Koloc, their father and Buggyra team principal, says that their only worry at this moment in time is Yasmeen’s injury. She has had to miss races in France and England due to her injury, but hopefully it’ll be ready for the rally.

Until next year…

Unfortunately, the injury has meant that Yasmeen has had to withdraw from the competition and has decided to postpone her Dakar debut. Yasmeen has said she is “not 100% to start the rally but she is not losing hope”. She hopes to make her debut next year, following more training and preparation.

For Yasmeen this is more than a dream, she goes onto say “I’m really proud to be going there and represent equality and diversity being a mixed background and being female. I hope it has a good impact on the rally”.

Aliyyah will still compete this year, still making her the youngest ever entrant into the rally and will be joined alongside Josef Machacek. Josef has won Dakar in 2009 entering in the quad category and again in 2021 in the lightweight prototype category. 

Challenges beyond the rally

Training and desert climatization can be difficult but being the youngest ever entrants into the rally has come with other trials. They’re two young girls competing in a male dominated sport, in a country that only started letting women drive foyr years ago. Yasmeen explained that they have struggled to find sponsors due to being half Sudanese, even in their home country. “People are gonna be talking” says Aliyyah but, we’re gonna try and inspire young people”. The girls have a very clear goal and dream with their motto being “Equality, Respect, Diversity”, they don’t give what they take. 

How have they done that!

Training, and lots of it. They routinely go to the desert between other racing commitments to get themselves ready for the rally. Their schedule is jam packed between physical training, racing their AMG GT4’s, mechanical training, and dieting. Yasmeen says she must bulk up so that she can handle the harsh conditions, this is alongside the physical therapy for her wrist. 

“I am struggling with the mechanical side of things, but I am learning” she says.

The girls are constantly in the gym doing circuit training to make sure they are fit enough to participate. They travel to the Middle East from Europe on a regular basis giving them very little downtime. 

They also spend 5-6 hours a day driving in the desert in the United Arab Emirates to simulate Dakar. 

Remind me, what is the Dakar Rally?

Only since 2020 has it taken place in Saudi Arabia, originally the rally would start in Paris and end in Senegal. There was also a stint between 2009 to 2019 where the rally took place in South America where it spanned countries such as Buenos Aries, Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

You can read more about the Dakar rally here

The Dakar rally is taking place in Saudi Arabia which starts on December 31st 2022, and lasts until January 15th 2023. The rally consists of 14 stages through the desert. It starts off the coast of the Red Sea and will finish in the Arabian Gulf in Damman. 

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