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CHAMPIONSHIP STILL THE FOCUS FOR ZAPPIA AFTER SANTO’S SUMMER THUNDER

The 400 Thunder Pro Slammer championship continues the battle between John Zappia and Paul Mouhayet as they went toe-to-toe at Santo’s Summer Thunder in Sydney on Saturday.

After recording two wins and the quickest two elapsed times of the opening two rounds, Zappia earned his final round place against Mouhayet where a big wheelstand in the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro cost him the race and saw the points lead return to Mouhayet.

“We ran a 5.65 in testing the night before race day using our set up from Willowbank and that was what we used for the final,” Zappia said.

“Unfortunately the track was a little different, more slippery early and then really grippy after 60 feet, so we took off with a lot of wheel speed and then it was able to carry the wheels and get out of the groove.

“When I punched second gear it rattled the tyres out of control and turned into a blur. I had to pedal it way too much and I almost gave up on the run entirely but I decided to carry on just in case something happened to Paul.”

While he left Sydney without the win, Zappia was happy overall with this eastern swing which included a win in Willowbank.

“All in all it was an excellent couple of events. We started 28 points behind Mouhayet, we were three points in front and now only nine points behind.

“Moits Racing have shown we can be beaten, the pressure is on, we knew they were going to step it up and know they are capable of more.”

While Zappia was forced to give up the points lead on Mouhayet’s home track, the game will change for round five of the championship Zappia returns to his own home track of Perth Motorplex for the Westernationals on March 3 and 4.

“Paul and Moits Racing have a lot of experience at Sydney Dragway but they have only been to the Motorplex once and that was in their turbocharged Mustang,” Zappia said.

“But that said, they have a lot of talent in their team and will find a way to adapt. We’re going to have to use our extensive knowledge of the Motorplex to get the upper hand.”

Zappia and team will test the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro at the Nitro Night event on February 17 at Perth Motorplex as part of the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam series.

“We will go into R&D mode and see if we can find anything else, then we will go into The Westernationals with our best combination,” he said.

“There’s some great competition in Perth to keep us on our toes, with Kelvin Lyle running 5.75 last weekend with a Zappia Racing engine and Daniel Gregorini getting back into the fives and starting to find his way again.”

And with the battle royal of 400 Thunder Pro Slammer coming for the Westernationals, Zappia urged drag racing fans to turn out in force and support what will be a world class event.

“I’d like anyone who considers themselves a fan of Zappia Racing and the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro to get to Perth Motorplex on March 3 and 4 because this is going to be one of the great events of all time at Kwinana.

“We have to get that points lead back and we want every fan we’ve got out there cheering loudly.”

For more details on the Westernationals, head to www.motorplex.com.au.

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Zappia puts the heat on Pro Slammer championship with New Years Thunder win

John Zappia has returned to the top of the 400 Thunder Pro Slammer series with a textbook performance at Willowbank Raceway’s New Years Thunder event.

As hot temperatures scorched the track surface during the day, Zappia chose to keep the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro and his hard working team under cover during the optional test session before emerging for a first round confrontation against Queensland local Russell Pavey.

“When you have a track temp that is around 150F, what you learn isn’t going to be relative to racing conditions,” Zappia said. “And we have a car that has been going down the track well first pass on nearly any track.”

Zappia clinched his first win of the night with a 5.78/251mph run to defeat Pavey’s solid 6.17/237mph in his 63 Corvette.

Sam Fenech’s App Shop Camaro would be the next target for Zappia as the second round loomed.

“We came back and looked at the data and then got after it a bit more by putting more on to the Boninfante clutch and adding some power back into the Noonan engine,” Zappia explained. “The Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro left well but it got real loose at the top end and close to the centre line so I pulled the chutes just before the finish. We still went 5.73 at just 248mph and with our two wins and solid numbers we were into the final.”

With the two quickest elapsed times of the night and two win lights, Zappia was perhaps a favourite on paper for the final round, but would face Queensland’s hometown hero Ben Bray for another epic match up.

“Ben put a good holeshot on me but we made up the difference between 330 feet and half track to come past him for our quickest run of the day at 5.70/251mph. Ben threw the blower belt off his Corvette, but even if it stayed on we had him covered.

“It was a flawless performance from my crew and everyone involved with our team. We got the win with three great runs and reclaimed the championship lead.The Noonan engine also performed flawlessly and thanks to the quality of the Fuchs Lubricants we had no maintenance and the engine looked brand new.

Zappia said he enjoyed the one day format, with spectators showing their support.

“I think the one day thing suits us. While it is a long way to travel for us for a single day, we generally can come out and run a low 5.7 or 5.6 off the trailer.

“The atmosphere was there, the crowd like it and whether the racers like it or not you can’t argue with the spectator numbers.”

The New Years Thunder win followed on from another victory by Zappia in the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam at Perth Motorplex on December 2, where he defeated Kelvin Lyle – who runs a Zappia Racing engine combination – in a crowd pleasing 5.71 to 5.77 final round.

“We’ve had two very positive events in a row now. In Perth we not only won the event but we also ran our fastest ever speed at 258.64mph, in fact it was the fastest speed by any legal Top Doorslammer or Pro Slammer in the country.”

Zappia Racing are proud to announce they have welcomed a new sponsor to the fold with Boninfante Friction joining the many performance partners on the team.

“The clutch is the secret to getting a Pro Slammer power down the track so we are very happy to welcome a high quality partner like Boninfante Friction Inc. to our team.”

The Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro will next head to Sydney Dragway for Santo’s Summer Thunder on January 20 where Zappia will aim to extend his championship lead.

“We aren’t letting our guard down and we are going to keep the pressure on our championship rivals. Paul Mouhayet was a little unlucky not to be in the final against us at Willowbank and we know they are going to be testing at every opportunity to come back at us.”

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Photo Credit:  Drag Photos