Reigning 6 times back-to-back ANDRA Top Doorslammer Champion John Zappia this weekend stamped his authority on his bid to win another straight championship, when he won the X Champs in Sydney Australia and leapt to the top of the points table.
“What a defining moment in our championship race” said a jubilant Zap after the event, “Going into today I have to say I was completely lost in my tune up after yesterdays qualifying – as were many other teams. I am a weather watcher, and my online programs were telling me finals day was going to be just like the day we tested during the week were we did a pedalling 5.9. So I went back to that tune up, and that decision ended up underpinning our days consistent racing”.
Earlier qualifying on the Saturday, where temperatures got down to as low as 14 degrees C (57 degrees F) saw a lot of teams struggle to put down representative passes. Sixteen cars presented for qualifying to get into the eight-car field. Only two sessions were managed due to the early rain, and later cold temperatures.
Zappia ended up third in qualifying behind Phillips and in-form Bishop. The Fuchs Lubricants/Striker Crushing and Screening HQ Monaro managed a pedalling 6.016 @ 247.38mph, and another pedalling 6.04 @ 246.57 later in the day. After qualifying was abandoned due to cold weather, surprise non-qualifiers were Belleri, Fabietti, O’Rourke and Ben Bray.
“So we went back to Wednesdays tune up, changed a gearbox and lined up against Marty Dack for Round 1. I cut a good .054 light and ran a straight 5.84 @ 251mph to Dack’s red lighting 6.12 @ 223.17mph”
“Just a few quick repairs on the Crusher and a very few fine adjustments to the tune and we presented against my old mate Victor for Round 2. The car ran straight with a hint of shake but I just drove through it for a 5.82 @ 251.72 – fastest speed for the event. Victor got out of it after shaking I think – I never really saw him in my vision.”
So the final was set between rivals Peter Kapiris and John Zappia. A much-anticipated finish, with Kapiris keen to bolster his chances at another Championship – and Zappia wanting to extend his dominance. The Zappia Racing crew turned the car around and presented for the finals.
“I was quietly confident against Pete on the run as he was not as quick as he can be but was still wary of him pulling out a fast run. The car launched well (1.02 60 feet time), but rattled a little bit so I punched second and it hooked up hard moving to the right – a little like Zap’s Rat used to – so I yanked it back hard and ran it through for a 5.79 @ 250.83mph win over Pete’s 5.98 @ 229.66mph. I wiped off some mph with the wander, but a strong back half made up for it”.
“Absolutely fantastic to get the win. Our hard working crew put in a great effort – and they are very calming around me, such is their experience and manner of working”.
With qualifying points, 100 points for winning the event, and gaining low ET and quickest speed John Zappia has leapt to the top of the 2013/2014 Top Doorslammer Championship table above Bishop and a handy break over Kapiris.
“Great result for the team, but still a lot of work to do as it’s a long season. Today was super consistent with 5.84, 5.82 and 5.79 runs and our engine package super strong. A big thanks to Ray Treasure and Sydney Dragway for giving us a killer track this weekend. We were glad we could give Fuchs Lubricants the win, and Craig Pedley from Striker will be over the moon his car has won another Gold Christmas Tree”.
Zappia Racing will head to Willowbank Queensland in a month for Round 6 of Top Doorslammer at the Winternationals.
QUALIFIED: STUART BISHOP – 67 CAMARO 5.916 @ 247.66; GARY PHILLIPS – 53 STUDEBAKER 5.954 @ 242.89; JOHN ZAPPIA – 71 HQ MONARO 6.016 @ 247.38; PETER KAPIRIS – DODGE SARATOGA 6.069 @ 249.63; ANDREW SUTTON – CHEV CORVETTE 6.101 @ 217.88; MARTYN DACK – FORD BA 6.103 @ 236.26; VICTOR BRAY – 57 CHEV COUPE 6.111 @ 219.94; JOHNNY ROSO – 69 CHEV CAMARO 6.227 @ 233.68
NON QUALIFIED: MARK BELLERI – 67 CHEV CAMARO 6.252 @ 177.81; PAT CARBONE – 68 CHEV CAMARO 6.27 @ 239.06; MAURICE FABIETTI – 2006 HOLD MONARO 6.288 @ 232.59; GRANT O’ROURKE – 68 PONT FIREBIRD 6.343 @ 236.88; GEOFF GRADDEN – CHRYSLER SARATOGA 6.435 @ 236.67; BEN BRAY – HOLD MONARO COUPE 6.644 @ 162.14; JEFF WILSON – 65 CORVETTE SPLIT 7.821 @ 147.79; DANIEL GREGORINI – 68 CHEV CAMARO 8.188 @ 118.25
ROUND 1: VICTOR BRAY 6.22 @ 224.6 DEF GARY PHILLIPS 9.77; PETER KAPIRIS 5.93 @ 251.20 DEF ANDREW SUTTON 6.65 @ 196.99; STUART BISHOP 6.12 @ 236.75 DEF JOHNNY ROSO 6.39 @ 234.66; JOHN ZAPPIA 5.84 @ 251.20 DEF MARTYN DACK 6.12 223.17.
ROUND 2: PETER KAPIRIS 5.90 @ 245.18 DEF STUART BISHOP 7.12 @ 129.10; JOHN ZAPPIA 5.82 @ 251.72 DEF VICTOR BRAY 10.92.
FINAL: JOHN ZAPPIA 5.79 @ 250.83 DEF PETER KAPIRIS 5.98 @ 229.66.