John Zappia showed Sydney fans why he is the Australian Top Doorslammer Champion on the weekend at the Karcher Nitro Champs, by driving his way to top qualifying position on a track no other competitor could get down, and winning the final with an ANDRA National Record-setting ride of 5.828 seconds at 246.17mph.
"The Striker Monaro took a lot more driving this weekend than normal to get down the track," said Zappia, still smiling from the win. "The track was prepared really well, very sticky. But the weather and other factors made the car a handful on occasion. It's fantastic to take this win for Striker Crushing and Screening - our naming rights sponsors, and all our other major and supporting sponsors.
"ANDRA have been all over the car to verify compliance, as well as downloading our Motec data and checking for any illegal outputs to hopefully put an end to all the rumors and innuendo about unfair advantages. As expected we have come up clean after checking the engine capacity, blower overdrive, clutch setup and computer data outputs and been awarded the winners' trophy and National ET Record. This win is a result of years of experience, and an extraordinary amount of hard work by a lot of people associated with the team. I personally thank everyone who has supported our racing efforts."
Zappia now has an unbeatable lead in the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship heading into the final event - the Winternationals at Willowbank International Raceway.
The final saw Zap up against arch rival Benny Bray. Young Benny got the hole-shot on the tree with an amazing 0.023 reaction to Zap's 0.106 and was out in front until the huge power of the Striker Monaro overtook him and went on to take the win with a 5.828 @ 246.17 mph to Benny's 6.042 @ 240.12 mph.
"We actually made no changes to the car for that last pass. The air came around really nicely, and on the launch the Rat lifted the front wheels like it never has before. I had to short shift to get the wheels back on the ground, then settled in to catch Benny," Zap said. "At about 800 feet a fuel nozzle line in the supercharger hat started hosing out fuel - so much so that I could hardly see out of the windscreen. I think Lady Luck was smiling on us as that leaned the engine out just enough to produce the 5.828 and the huge 246.17 mph speed."
Earlier Zap had disposed of Ray Bernard in round one with a 5.861 @ 244.34 mph to a 6.292 @ 230.06 mph, and Maurice Fabietti in round two with a fantastic close race. Maurice’s 6.055 @ 238.55 mph was not quick enough for Zap’s 5.839 @ 244.65 mph.
“It was unbelievable to run three 5.8 second passes in eliminations. That’s fantastic racing and sets a high standard for us to maintain. Combine that with our 5.843 @ 245.14 mph top qualifier on the Saturday and that has guaranteed us to win the championship for a second year in a row," he said.
“Friday’s first qualifier was a memorable one though. When all the other teams had trouble getting down the cold track, the Striker Monaro managed a 5.991 off the trailer to stamp our mark on the weekend. The car went right, I over corrected and went left and hugged the wall in a run that took my breath away”.
The Zappia Racing Team fly back to Perth for a short break, then head back to Willowbank International Raceway on June 4th for the famous Winternationals, where Round 8 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship will be held, and the championship trophy awarded.