Cork's Lucca Allen is racing towards the F4 title race in Malaysia

Cork's Lucca Allen is racing towards the F4 title race in Malaysia
Shanagarry's Lucca Allen hoping to clinch the F4 SEA Championship in Malaysia this weekend. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Lim.

CORK’S Lucca Allen and Finland’s Elias Seppanen will battle to become the 2019 F4 SEA champion in this weekend final round of four races at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Although Seppanen leads the Shanagarry racer by 28 points, Allen heads the standings by some eight points when dropped scores are taken into consideration.

With a total of 107 points available from the weekend’s final event, there is no room for error.

In the last round, also at the Sepang circuit, Allen had his finest weekend in the series winning three races and taking second place in the other. “I’m excited for sure but I also have a lot of experience now. I am carrying great momentum from the last round of races and hopefully I will get the job done. I am leading with dropped rounds taken in to account so I need to stay ahead of Elias (Seppanen).”

Allen and Seppanen have dominated this season’s campaign — Muizz Musuaffa is 172 points adrift in third place, Allen will be hoping that the Malaysian driver and others will raise their game and split him from Seppanen in some of the four races. “We have about thirty minutes of free practice today (Friday) and then it’s straight into qualifying. There is one race tomorrow and then the other three races on Sunday.”

Allen knows he has to remain calm. “Yes, obviously emotions will run high this weekend but the main thing is to avoid trouble and do the best I can.”

Lucca Allen (left) with Gerard Quinn, Head of Ford Performance Europe at “A Night of Great Fun and Formula 4” that took place at Rachel’s Restaurant. Picture: Martin Walsh.
Lucca Allen (left) with Gerard Quinn, Head of Ford Performance Europe at “A Night of Great Fun and Formula 4” that took place at Rachel’s Restaurant. Picture: Martin Walsh.

For the final round Allen will be joined by another Irish racer Max Hart (18) from Baltinglass, who has been invited to compete by championship boss Peter Thompson, who is originally from Wexford. Hart was a finalist in this year’s Young Driver Of The Year award. For Allen a repeat of his last round form will land the title. Meanwhile, the Shanagarry driver is formulating plans for the 2020 season. “I will be making the step up to Formula 3 next year, but I am not sure where or what championship it will be, hopefully it will all be sorted some time in February.”

Meanwhile, earlier this week at the MIS Motorsport Champions of Irish Motorsport Awards ceremony at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin yesterday Derry’s Josh McErlean (20) and Kildare’s James Roe Jnr. (21) were announced as the respective winners of the Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year and the Young Racing Driver of the Year awards.

McErlean from Kilrea won the British Junior Rally Championship, he campaigned a Peugeot 208 R2 to class wins on the West Cork, Pirelli International and Ulster rallies.

Roe, who moved to America, raced in the F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda and won Road America, he finished fifth in the championship and played a key role by helping his Global Racing Group team win the Team Championship.

The rally award is worth €100,000, half of which comes from Sport Ireland, Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated clubs while the other €50,000 comes from the Team Ireland Foundation. The racing award, that also includes the Sexton Trophy, is to the tune of €50,000, however and like the Coleman award, the prestige value helps in attracting sponsors.

Also at the ceremony, Derry’s Callum Devine was presented with the Manley Memorial Trophy for the International Driver of the Year award; Belfast’s TJ McDonell the National Junior Kart Champion (IAME X30) was awarded the Neil Shanahan Memorial Trophy.

The JC Millard Memorial Award for “Club Person of the Year” was awarded to Castlebar’s Sara McFadden, at the Imokilly Rally last year she became the first visually impaired person to compete in Irish rallying. The Ivan Webb Memorial Award for the most outstanding contribution to Irish Motorsport was presented to Carrick-on-Suir’s James Coleman.

Amongst the attendance at the event that celebrated the success of the most talented drivers in Irish motorsport in 2019 were Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin; Graham Stoker, FIA Deputy President of Sport; John Naylor, President of Motorsport Ireland and Leo Hassett, CEO Motorsport Ireland.

MI president John Naylor said, “Alongside our partners in Sport Ireland and Team Ireland, Motorsport Ireland is committed to supporting and developing drivers and providing them with every opportunity to succeed at the highest level.”

During his address Leo Hassett stated that there was a 15% increase in the number of licence holders, he also announced that next season there will be a free entry for competitors that submit their entry on or before the Friday of an event.

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