Zappia bests Abel in Saturday qualifying battle at Alice Springs

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John Zappia has found some redemption at the second round of the Australian Drag Racing Championship, as he takes the qualifying lead into day two of the Desert Nationals at Alice Springs Inland Dragway.

Western Australia’s Zappia used a 5.933/246.00mph pass in the second session of qualifying to top the time sheet, nudging ahead of the Northern Territory’s Matt Abel who clocked a 5.990 one pairing earlier.

Zappia was left disappointed after the Top End Nationals in Darwin last weekend when he could not appear for the final due to engine damage. This weekend he is aiming to make amends in the Dananni Hotshots/Tony’s Auto Wreckers Monaro Top Doorslammer.

“The Darwin final does still burn a bit, but I guess it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“I was pushing the equipment pretty hard and over-revved it a few times. We broke a valve and we just couldn’t make the engine change in time.”
After shaking the tyres on his first run at Alice Springs, Zappia found the right tune-up to blast to the top of the qualifying sheets.

“I was sitting behind Matt Abel when he went 5.99, so I knew straight away the track was a lot better for the second qualifying session,” Zappia explained. “We had our set-up backed down, probably too much, but it went down there for the 5.93. It was a very conservative run.”

One more qualifying session remains on Sunday for the Top Doorslammers, before they enter eliminations. Zappia said he will be looking to make the tune-up a touch more spicy to match the improving track surface.

“We left plenty on the table. We had a lot of timing pulled out to make sure it went from A to B. The track came around and was better than what we thought it would get to. We are pretty sure it might have held a 5.8 run, we just didn’t want to overstep the mark and not know how much to back it down for racing.”

Sunday Zappia will be vying for the $1000 cheque on offer for the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award presented by Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks, as well as a helpful solo run in eliminations.

“We will put timing back into the motor, and we also had it rich on the fuel system and we were slipping the clutch. We have passed the point now on the track where we can see cars are getting down, so now we can chase it.”

Zappia currently sits second in the Australian Drag Racing Championship, just behind Top Doorslammer points leader Daniel Gregorini, who struggled to only a 13-second pass during qualifying today.

Qualifying action resumes Sunday from 11am at Alice Springs Inland Dragway, with eliminations commencing from 1.40pm and finals from 3.30pm.

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Images by – Amber Simms Photography

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