John Zappia silenced critics in a dramatic way during the Australian Nationals, driving by the seat of his pants in the semi finals to dismiss accusations of traction control from another team.
With new supporting sponsors Motec, CP Carillo, Speedflow and Biante on board, the latter of which is to produce a 1/8 scale model of the Fuchs HQ Monaro, Zappia top qualified with a 4.91 pass, setting up a first round clash with old rival Victor Bray.
The Fuchs Monaro was too strong for the Chevy in a 4.89 to 5.40 contest and Zappia progressed to the semis where he had a solo pass.
“There were a lot of accusations from a certain team that I had some sort of computerised traction control in the car and (I) was challenged to run the next pass without the Motec computer dash and expander,” he said. “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 and computer – no tacho, no shift lights or any possibility of illegal electronic control. I wanted to put this long-standing rumour to bed.”
Zappia silenced his critics with a 4.919 @ 223mph on the solo run without any aids – driving and shifting by sound and feel in the heat of the day.
Canulli got himself a finals berth by putting Ben Bray away in the other run of the round after Bray crossed the centre line and hit the timing boxes.
“We were really keen to set the speed record for Calder for 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 race car 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 rootes-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, where 12 teams have entered the ANDRA Championship event, complimented by Top Fuel Motorcycle.
This will be followed with the Westernationals – also at Perth Motorplex – where an even bigger field of Top Doorslammers will be 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 heroes, buy signed merchandise and have fun in the kids zone.”
Zappia Racing Media Release