There was a definite buzz around the OT Publishing Coupe Cup with Toyo Tires paddock at Castle Combe this past weekend (7th October).
As has become the norm over the years, the honour of being named “driver of the year” was going down to the wire. This year it was between Wayne Rockett and Luca Staccini Anzanello. Going into the final two races both drivers had the same results. However, with a couple more podium places to his name, it was Staccini who held the advantage.
Jumping into a new car at a new track, Rockett gave it everything to out-qualify his opponent but it was Staccini that took pole position by just two tenths from fellow Cursley Motorsport driver, Mark Ridout. Rockett senior and junior (Jonny) locked out the second row so it was all set for a race to the first corner.
Unusually Staccini made an excellent start when the lights went out and he started to pull out a healthy lead. Despite a brief safety car period which saw the pack bunch up, Staccini held on to record his fifth win of the year just one tenth ahead of teammate Mark Ridout.
An emotional Staccini leapt out of his car and into the arms of team boss Alex Cursley and then onto a victory lap around the fabulous Castle Combe circuit. But the day wasn’t done and he had a few hours to enjoy himself and calm down.
Race two started as the sun went down and Staccini made a more customary start which dropped him down to fifth place whilst Neale Hurren, Mark Ridout and the two Rocketts hurtled around at close quarters. When the race settled down it was Ridout who took the lead which he never relinquished. Jonny Rockett came home second with Staccini making up for lost time in third place. Hurren fell back into the clutches of Michael Evans but just held on to fifth place.
As ever, in 2023 the series has been exciting with battles throughout the field giving all the drivers a chance to experience up close and personal racing without breaking the bank. New drivers, old drivers, and even “retired” drivers came out to race with plenty more already committed to the 2024 series.
Words – Matthew Plumb / Images – Marc Lawrence and Graham Gillings