BURIRAM (14th June 2019) – Lucca Allen and Shihab Al Habsi tried everything they could to outdo each other in the first race of Round 4 of the Formula 4 SEA Championship – fueled by Petron – at the Buriram International Circuit today. In the end though, it was Irish ace Allen who prevailed in the thriller of a race and claimed his fifth victory of the season.
But Oman’s Shihab, who started from pole alongside Allen on the front row, missed out on second after a slip-up allowed Australian Josh Smith to sneak past. Shihab, winner of two races here last month, had to settle for third.
Despite starting second on the grid, Allen had a near-perfect start as he shot off the blocks and snatched the lead. He turned in an aggressive performance as he staved off a mighty challenge from Shihab for much of the race. They were side-by-side as each of them tried to gain the upper hand, and this went on until the ninth lap when Allen pulled ahead.
Allen, winner of two races each in Round 2 and 3, held on to the end to finish in a time of 21 minutes 9.381 seconds. “I had a good start and managed to get Shihab on the first corner. It was a really stressful race and Shihab did a good job to put pressure on me. Definitely the most pressure, probably I ever had in my career,” said Allen.
“I think we were side-by-side for almost all the laps. At every corner, I was surprised he (Shihab) was beside me. We were both giving room to each other but I’m happy it’s over,” a relieved Allen commented. He completed the 12-lap race in 21 minutes 09.381 seconds.
But for Shihab, an error on the ninth lap paved the way for Smith, who was fourth, to storm into second spot. He swept past Shihab and Finland’s Elias Seppanen. Smith was pressured by Shihab and Seppanen but he did not buckle and kept his place. He finished 0.497 seconds behind Allen.
“I’m still out of breath. Allen tried to create a gap but I was really focusing and managed to pick up the pace. Overall, I’m happy with the outcome,” said Smith. Shihab eventually finished in 21:10.524, slightly over a second behind the winner.
Meanwhile, local driver, Ananthorn Tangniannatchai settled for ninth with India’s female driver, Sneha Sharma in 10th.
Three more races will be staged tomorrow. A total of four races have been scheduled for the fourth round of the Formula 4 SEA Championship.