New Queensland Hyundai X3 Excel Racing Series champion Frank Mammerella’s consistent season has seen him rewarded with the series title.
Mammerella finished ahead of fellow contender Brock Giblin in the final round of the year after the defending champion retired in the final two races, handing Mammerella the 2018 title.
It was a highly consistent season for the Albany Creek based driver, who was the only driver in the series to finish every round in the top five, including two round runner-ups – but surprisingly, didn’t secure a round win throughout the year.
Despite his consistency, Mammerella faced constant pressure from Giblin throughout the year, who won both the opening round and the special Nationals round at Queensland Raceway in July, taking the series to a final round grand final.
“I felt a lot of pressure leading up to the weekend but as soon as it was over it was happy, but I didn’t really know how to feel,” Mammerella said.
“It’s a weird feeling because obviously you want to be the best and although we hadn’t had a win this year, we had a couple of second places and had been around the top three in every round.
“I sort of feel worthy but without being a race winner, it’s a bit funny to call myself a champion.
“Looking back at it now, I’m very happy as it’s something I never thought would happen, everyone has been wishing me well and everything so it’s been nice.”
With so many factors contributing to his maiden series title, the 54-year-old put it down to a combination of preparation and maturity.
“We’ve just had an awesome year with reliability and finishing,” Mammarella added.
“We’ve got a major workshop so we’ve always prepared the car with a spare no expense attitude to make sure that the car’s right.
“However the main thing for me is that I think and act at the same time, whereas the younger guys who are race winners like to act first and think later.
“There have been rounds this year where I’ve stayed in the top four for the whole weekend,and others where I have dropped down the order, but other faster cars fighting for positions crash ahead of me, allowing me to move up the field.
“I was also really scared to damage my car which could explain it.”
While Mammerella himself was a little shocked with the title, there was no hard feelings between him and Giblin who along with Mammerella’s teammate, Kaden Olsen, were extremely happy for the new champion.
“Kaden (Olsen) was very happy for me and he was hugging me after the race,” Mammerella laughed.
“When I got to the pits after weighing the car with him, Brock (Giblin) came charging towards me, pretended to body slam me on the bonnet before graciously ripping the number one off his door and putting it on mine.
“It may have been all wrinkled up but it was still a nice gesture and shows how fantastic he was in defeat – I was very happy with that.
“Brock is a great guy, awesome competitor and he deserves everything he gets because when he goes, he is just unbelievable- I wish some of that raw youth.”
The Queensland Hyundai X3 Excel Racing Series has yet to announce their 2019 schedule, however are confirmed to compete once again in the next year’s Shannons Nationals at Queensland Raceway.