That's a Wrap for Wade!
Championship returnee Wade Eastwood completed a clean sweep at Silverstone with victory in Race Three
F3 Cup's final race at Silverstone this weekend was the now traditional 20 minute 'feature' race. The extra five minutes in the third race have often proved crucial and this was certainly true on the fast, short National circuit where the drivers completed eight more laps than in the earlier race two.
The grid for race three is formed from the result of race two; this meant Wade Eastwood took pole position, ahead of Robbie Watts, Cian Carey and Jacopo Sebastiani. With thick, dark clouds covering the Northamptonshire circuit, the race was declared "wet" by the Clerk of the Course, allowing the teams and drivers to opt for the Pirelli wet tyres. The excitement of last minute pit stops last time out at Snetterton was surely playing on their minds, but everyone stuck with the slicks option. Sadly Richard Purcell, Malcolm Scott and David Gillett would be unable to take the race start, however.
As the lights went out, Wade Eastwood struggled and Robbie Watts shot off to take the lead as the pack approached Copse. Within the first lap the lead would change again, as the flying Cian Carey passed Watts to lead the field.
For the first few laps the top seven drivers diced for position, with Stuart Wiltshire, James Heffernan and Tony Bishop also having a tussle further back. By lap four, Carey continued to lead from Sebastiani and Watts with Eastwood down in fourth. George Line was having a much better run in this race, comfortable in fourth as Gino Ussi fought off Shane Kelly behind. Eastwood would be the early pace setter, lapping in the high 52 seconds mark.
As Sebastiani tried to slip past Carey at Copse, he also found himself under pressure from Eastwood behind, with Watts ready to pounce on the pair of them should they make a mistake. Behind them, Kelly managed to pass Ussi, and set about putting some space between the two of them.
Carey then ran wide at Brooklands, allowing Eastwood to take the lead, and the following lap Sebastiani made the same mistake but Watts wasn't quite close enough to capitalise on it. Meanwhile, the now flying Kelly managed to catch and pass George Line, setting a string of fastest laps in the process. Ussi, Wiltshire and Heffernan were having a great battle for seventh, but that in turn allowed the cars ahead to create more of a gap.
As the last few minutes approached, the sky got noticeably darker, but the drivers stayed fully committed. Kelly posted a 52.355s lap time, collecting the Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Weekend Award in the process, while Watts continued to pressurise Sebastiani as Carey tried to make the most of back marker traffic, to force Eastwood into a mistake.
That mistake would never come however, and as the chequered flag fell, Wade Eastwood become a member of a very select club - only a handful of drivers have ever managed to win all three races at an F3 Cup weekend. Cian Carey improved on his earlier third place podium with a second place finish, ahead of Jacopo Sebastiani.
F3 Cup returns to action back at Silverstone on 1-2 July, this time on the incredible full Grand Prix circuit, home to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.