Top Doorslammer Champ John Zappia showed who was boss this weekend at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria with a commanding performance of tuning and driving in the ANDRA 2017 Australian Nationals.
Eight teams entered for the event run over 1,000 feet instead of the full 1320 feet (1/4 mile) – but only seven presented for qualifying on the Saturday. There was plenty of interest in the event outcome, with the high profile teams battling it out for points, trophies and bragging rights.
Zappia racing were sporting signage from new supporting sponsors Motec, CP Carillo, Speed Flow and Biante – manufacturer of an 1/8 scale model of the Fuchs HQ Monaro soon to be released.
On the Saturday Zappia – the only team to manage a four second pass, and a tenth ahead of the pack – dominated qualifying.
“We made three passes all pretty similar – 5.00 @ 223mph with a pedal, a fish tailing 4.91 @ 222mph, and a 4.91 @ 221mph on the second gear rev limiter to Top Qualify. The crew and I were pretty happy with that”.
The Round 1 matchup was against old rival Victory Bray – fresh from a runner up run at his previous event. The Fuchs Monaro was way too strong for the Chevy and Zappia progressed to Round 2. Ben Bray and Paul Canulli had good wins in the other matchups.
“There were a lot of accusations from a certain team that I had some sort of computerized traction control in the car and was challenged to run the next pass without the Motec computer dash and expander. ANDRA’s competition manager was given the Motec computer and Expander to hold while we ran our solo semi-final without any electronic devices. I was to make the semi-final pass without my Motec dash/computer – no tacho, no shift lights or any possibility of illegal electronic control. I wanted to put this long-standing rumor to bed”.
Zappia silenced his critics with a 4.919 @ 223mph on his solo without any aids – driving and shifting by sound and feel.
Canulli got himself a finals berth by putting Ben Bray away in the other run of the round after Bray crossed the centerline and hit the timing cones.
“We were really keen to set the speed record for Calder 1,000 feet, as we already have the Track ET Record. The car was really strong but as we didn’t get any data from the previous two runs – one due to computer malfunction and the other due to running with all electronics removed from the racecar in the semi. We made a slight clutch adjustment based on our previous 60 foot time and faced off against Sean Mifsud’s Plymouth Duster driven by Paul Canulli. Paul has beaten us before, so I was on guard and pretty focused”.
The final was a race of two cars in the same class but very different in their setups. The Fuchs Monaro is a screw blown car using a clutch, whereas the Duster is a roots blown car with a converter. Both having different driving characteristics and performance when on the track.
Zappia managed the win with a 4.903 @ 225.33mph – just short of the track record – to Canulli’s 5.118 @ 219mph.
“Great win for Fuchs and all our sponsors. With the win, Top Qualifying and Low ET we picked up 113 points to stretch our lead in the Australian Championship to 117 points ahead of Mark Belleri, with three rounds still to go”.
The Zappia Racing Team now head back to Perth for the Goldenstates at the Perth Motorplex this weekend, the 3rd – 4th February, where a healthy twelve teams have entered the ANDRA Championship event and complimented by Top Bike.
This will be followed with the Westernationals – also at Perth Motorplex on the 4th-5th March – where we are expecting an even bigger field of Top Doorslammers and complimented by Top Alcohol and Top Bike.
“Get down to the Perth Motorplex for both these events and bring the kids to enjoy the racing, meet their hero’s, buy signed merchandise and to have fun in the kid’s zone”.
1. J ZAPPIA HQ MONARO 4.911 @ 221.74MPH
2. B BRAY CORVETTE 5.020 @ 220.98MPH
3. MARK BELLERI 5.070 @ 220.91MPH
4. PAUL CANULLI 5.076@ 219.51MPH
5. SAM FENECH 5.121 @ 215.79MPH
6. VICTOR BRAY 5.301 @ 214.86MPH
Robin Taylor in his new 68 Camaro did not complete a full pass under power so was not able to compete in eliminations.
P CANNULLI PLYMOUTH 5.079 @ 219MPH DEF M BELLERI 06 MONARO 5.245 @ 216MPH
B BRAY CORVETTE 5.098 @ 221MPH DEF S FENECH CAMARO 5.984 @ 132MPH
J ZAPPIA HQ HOLDEN 4.890 @ 224MPH DEF V BRAY CHEV 5.405 @ 199MPH
P CANNULLI PLYMOUTH 5.164 @ 218MPH DEF B BRAY 5.340 @ 194MPH
J ZAPPIA HQ MONARO (SOLO) 4.919 @ 223MPH
J ZAPPIA HQ HOLDEN 4.903 @ 225.33MPH DEF P CANNULLI PLYMOUTH 5.118 @ 219MPH
Photos from Michelle Porobic at Bright Design