Darren Mollenoyux (back, fourth from left) with his support crew.WARRNAMBOOL’S Darren Mollenoyux is gunning for a feature race victory at Easter after he capped his most consistent season with overall honours in the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria (SRA) series.
Nanjing Night Net

The 29-year-old was crowned the new SRA champion after he finished fifth in Saturday night’s grand final at Allansford’s Premier Speedway.

Mollenoyux, who started the 30-lap feature from fourth on the grid, followed home his nearest rival in the series, Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal, who was fourth. Veal entered the final needing to finish 10 places in front of Mollenoyux to steal the title.

Mollenoyux was beaming at achieving his season’s goal but admitted joy wasn’t his reaction when he crossed the line.

“(It was) just relief,” Mollenoyux said.

“I’ve never been in this position before. It was something new.

“I don’t know if it’s the right word but it was a bit overwhelming with all the heap of people saying ‘best of luck’. I was trying not to focus on the series too much but there were that many people in your face wishing you well.”

Mollenoyux said he was pleased to complete his mission and rated it as one of the biggest achievements in his racing career.

“It’s the best we’ve done in sprintcars,” he said.

“The Australian title in formula 500s, although it’s not sprintcars, I didn’t think much of it at the time. It is something not many people get to do. Not too many people get to win one of these (SRA series). It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Mollenoyux, like last year’s winner, Simpson’s John Vogels, claimed the crown without winning a feature race. He had 11 top 10 finishes from 14 rounds and eight top fives.

“I was giving it my best shot,” he said of Saturday night’s result. “I just wanted to finish. I don’t think the car was good enough to run with the others.”

He said now that the series was out of the way, his next aim was to win a feature, having not tasted success for more than 12 months.

Mollenoyux said the SRA series had been high on his wish-list.

“The other two times we have done it we have run second and third. The first year we had motor trouble and last year we had a steering box failure here that cost us,” he said.

“We have had a lot of things go wrong this season but it feels pretty good to get the win. It hasn’t been easy by any means.”

Veal was disappointed to miss his maiden SRA series triumph after turning in some blistering performances.

“I’m happy with that,” he said of second. “You can’t get too down. It’s been one of our best years. We’ve been fast and we’ve won five features.

“I think we had the fastest car. It would have been nice to win but I’m just happy with the direction the team is going.”

Veal said he would head to Sydney this weekend, extending a new arrangement he has to drive for Sydney car owner Dave Doherty.

He too is looking forward to the Easter Trail, before heading to the United States for a six-week racing tour.

Last year’s series winner John Vogels was third in the series ahead of Melbourne-based driver Brett Milburn, while Simpson’s Tim Rankin was fifth.

Rankin, who had set himself to finish third in the series, rolled in turn four after colliding with Quentin Tanner.

“I didn’t even know he was there,” Rankin said.

“He had all four wheels in the air and I nailed him, I was full noise. It’s very disappointing, I can’t believe it.”

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