Mariani now a championship contender

This article brought to you by:

Mark Mariani has capped off his first full-season in the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) Pro Series ranks, finishing fourth in the 2009-2010 Australian Top Fuel championship series. Driving for the highly respected Sydney-based Rapisarda Racing/Titan Cranes team, the highlight of Mariani’s season was winning his first Top Fuel championship event, the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway (SD) in May.

Mariani also reached the semi finals at the Australian Nationals at SD (September 2009), the Perth Motorplex event (December 2009) and the Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway (June).

Mariani was also runner-up in the three-round – Perth, Nitro Champs and Winternationals – $25,000 Shannons Top Fuel Shootout.    

Prior to the 2009-2010 season, Mariani, a second-generation Top Fuel drag racer – his father Mario raced in the 1970s and 80s – competed in only three events in both the 2008-09 and 2007-08 seasons, qualifying for three of the six events, reaching the 2007 East Coast Nationals semi final at SD and losing in round one at the other two events. 

“My first full season has been fantastic. It was a huge learning curve with some huge highs and huge lows. The highlight was undoubtly winning the Nitro Champs,” Mariani said.

“We started the season getting to the semi finals at the Nationals and in Perth. Then the next two events were a bit disappointing, but then came the Nitro Champs win.

“That win was unbelievable. My mother and father were at the event, which was awesome. They did not go to all my races, so it was very emotional for them and me.

“My Dad (Mario) was a Top Fuel racer, but he never got to win an event. He was runner-up many times to Santo (Rapisarda) and Jim Read. I am the first in the family to win an ANDRA gold Christmas Tree (trophy).” 

Mariani said both he and the Rapisarda team are looking forward to the coming 2010-11 ANDRA Pro Series season.

“The team can’t wait for next season to start. Starting the season with a win at the (Australian) Nationals (at SD in September) and leading the championship series is obviously the team’s goal,” Mariani said.

“We are certainly chasing the championship this season. Finishing in the top three is our goal after finishing fourth last season. Winning the championship is our ultimate goal and is not out of the question.” 

Mariani is also keen to better his personal best time of 4.775-seconds recorded at the Winternationals and the 296.63mph (477.27km/h) speed at the Nitro Champs, in the coming season.

“I really want to run 300mph (482km/h) and it will be a shock if we don’t start running 4.60s (seconds) at the start of the new season.

“I definitely feel more confident and comfortable in the Titan Cranes’ car, my driving has improved and I am cutting consistent reaction times.   

“The (Rapisarda) team feels that it is now getting some good performance levels out of the car again. We ran six passes with the one engine at the Winternationals, which was fantastic. 

“Last season I proved to myself that I can win an event and with the confidence that I gained in myself, yes, I am really looking forward to the coming season. Bring it on,” Mariani said

Aeroflow Performance Parts Catalogue

Drag News Magazine