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#RIPJustin: Indycar driver Wilson laid to rest

2015-09-11 09:45

WILSON LAID TO REST: The coffin of driver Justin Wilson is carried by pallbearers including Dario Marino Franchitti (right) and Mark Webber (second, left), as it leaves St James Church Paulerspury, England. Image: AP/Alastair Grant

London, England - Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of British IndyCar racer Justin Wilson in a quiet English village near Silverstone circuit on Thursday (September 10).

Australian Mark Webber, a Jaguar team mate in F1 in 2003, and retired three-times Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti were among the pallbearers at the church service in Paulerspury.

In a eulogy, former F1 racer Jonathan Palmer said Wilson had "died doing something he loved. He wasn't in denial about the risks."

Hit by flying debris

Wilson died at the age of 37 after he was hit on the helmet by flying debris from a car he was following in the closing laps of a race at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway.

Wilson, who also raced in F1 for the Minardi team that is now Toro Rosso, was a seven-time winner in the US series.

Read: Jules Bianchi laid to rest: As it happened

He was the first IndyCar driver to die following a race incident since fellow Dan Wheldon in a crash at Las Vegas in October 2011.

F1 drivers held a minute's silence for Wilson at Monza last Sunday (September 5) before the Italian GP and also carried stickers in his memory on their helmets.

"Wonderful driver, such a good guy"

Franchitti said: "Justin Wilson is one of the greatest human beings I have ever, ever met in my life. Wonderful driver, but a great human being, such a good guy. I think that the show of support today shows that.

"There was that sort of duel personality, an absolute tiger in the car and out of the car just an absolute laid back gentleman."

Webber, who left F1 at the end of 2013, remembered Wilson, ironically nicknamed "Badass", as a gentle giant.

Webber said: "He was such a good guy to race against, he was so accurate with his passing moves, he was a tough competitor.

"A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, if you like, in and out of the cockpit because he was such a warm and generous character out of the car. He always cared for other people, what other people were up to, and nothing was ever too much of a chore for him."

Wilson's death has reopened a debate within IndyCar and F1 about the possibility of introducing closed cockpits to protect drivers from head injuries.

Webber, who now races in sportscars for Porsche, has backed such a move.

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