Last Lap Battles Decide Second Silverstone Sprint
F3 Cup’s second race of the weekend at Silverstone National was another action-packed one
(04.06.17) F3 Cup's second race of the weekend at Silverstone National was another action-packed one, with exciting battles throughout the field. After their coming together yesterday, Gino Ussi, Stuart Wiltshire and Shane Kelly were all back in action after fantastic efforts by their respective teams overnight to repair and prepare their Dallara machinery.
Increasingly overcast skies never delivered on their threat of a wet race, and as the red lights went out a much cleaner start was enjoyed by all. Pole sitter Robbie Watts struggled a little to get the car off the line, and Shane Kelly was quick to capitalise, taking the lead as the pack tackled Copse corner for the first time.
In the early stages of the race, the top five runners (Kelly, Watts, Carey, Sebastiani and Eastwood) began to break away from the rest of the pack, but the action was by no means confined to the front. Tony Bishop, Jeremy Timms and James Heffernan in particular enjoyed a close battle for position.
As Sebastiani passed Carey for third, the top trio began to split off again, Cian Carey (now in fifth place) pressuring Eastwood for fourth as he fought back up the order. Fastest laps were traded almost lap-by-lap between Watts and Sebastiani, that honour ultimately going the way of the Italian.
As the back markers tackled the Maggots/Becketts complex, Chris Dittmann Racing's Phillips Jeans had a spin at Becketts, leaving the following Richard Purcell with nowhere to go. Contact was the inevitable result, leaving both cars stranded on the track and calling for a Safety Car deployment.
This would be the defining moment of the race; as the cars followed in single file while Jeans and Purcell were recovered, Eastwood and Carey were able to close up to the leaders, ready for the restart.
As the Safety Car returned to the Pit Lane, almost the entire pack was bunched up behind but leader Watts executed the restart perfectly, creating a small lead from Sebastiani and Eastwood.
Kelly worked his way up to fourth, obviously keen to retake his lead in the championship standings, but as they started the final lap it was Eastwood who would pull out all the stops. A great move past Sebastiani was only bettered by a fantastic pass around the outside at Copse to take the lead from Watts, with the CF Racing driver able to hold on to the position until the chequered flag.
Eastwood's win continues a dream comeback for the London-based driver, while Robbie Watts secured a strong points haul in second place. Cian Carey's third place was the Irishman's first F3 Cup podium - and will have definitely whetted his appetite for more silverware.
F3 Cup's third and final race of the weekend takes place at the slightly earlier than published time of 15:00.