Josef Machacek replaces injury-sidelined Yasmeen Koloc at Dakar 2023

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Credit: Buggyra Racing

Yasmeen Koloc had hoped to make her Dakar Rally début alongside twin sister Aliyyah in 2023, but a wrist injury sustained in a 24H Series crash at Spa-Francorchamps in April will prevent the effort from taking place. Twice Dakar winner Josef Macháček will substitute for her in the #345 Can-Am in the T3 category.

The injury sidelined Koloc for much of 2022, including her initial plans of racing in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. She had also been racing in the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, which her sister won.

Her Buggyra Racing team, owned by father Martin Koloc, intends to welcome her back to the driver’s seat for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on 26 February – 1 March.

“I have been recovering since and making good progress but unfortunately, I am still not 100% ready to start the Dakar,” commented Koloc. “But I’m not losing hope, I’m just postponing my debut until next year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for my sister and Josef Macháček, who will take my seat.

“It’s going to be difficult just watching them. The Dakar is one of my motorsport highlights. It’s all about the team and it’s like riding a roller coaster, one day you are down and then you are up again. But I have decided to look on the bright side of my Dakar postponement: I have an extra year to prepare now.”

Macháček is the first Dakar Quad and T3 class champion after winning each category in 2009 and 2021, respectively. After finishing twenty-fifth overall in the 2022 edition, he was due to transition to an advisory role within Buggyra for 2023.

David Schovánek will serve as his co-driver.

“I am looking forward to being a competitor as well as a mentor to Aliyyah who starts the Dakar for the very first time. Of course, I am very happy that I can participate once again, even though I wish the circumstances would have been different,” Macháček stated. “Everything is a bit  rushed due to this last-minute driver change but I’m confident that everything will be done in time.

“The first half of the event will be rocky. But I’m really looking forward to the second part, the big dunes. The main thing for me is to make sure we both go and be somewhere up front.

“That I’d participate in the Dakar again wasn’t really part of the plan when I started my cooperation with Buggyra but I knew from the beginning that it would be interesting. For the first three years, I was involved in the development of the buggy and now I am an advisor to the Koloc twins. It is a shame that Yasmeen cannot participate, so I will fully concentrate on mentoring Aliyyah and also of course on my own driving.”

Besides the two T3 cars, Buggyra is also fielding a pair of Tatra trucks in the T5 class for Martin Šoltys and Jaroslav Valtr, as well as a Tatra in the Dakar Classic for Radovan Kazarka.

“We have reached a point where we cannot postpone the decision on the crews for the 2023 Dakar any longer,” said Martin Koloc. “Yasmeen has been preparing for three years, but unfortunately, she has not been able to overcome her injury fully and her body is not ready for the Dakar. We cannot afford to have a newcomer to the Dakar competing with any limitations, not even a partial one.”

The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on 31 December 2022.

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