Zappia wins coveted Winternationals title

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John Zappia has won this years prestigious FUCHS Winternationals Australian ANDRA Top Doorslammer event at Willowbank International Raceway in a dominant performance against his 15 opponents.

“That was one of the best race meetings we have performed at” said a jubilant Zappia after the event, “The weather was great, crowds were huge, and the Willowbank Staff provided us with a very good track that allowed us to match our car to the track superbly. The car was super consistent and reliable all weekend”.

“We were thrilled to win the event for Fuchs – our Co-naming Rights Sponsor and main sponsor of the event. They have shown faith in us and provided valuable sponsorship, and all the hard work our team have put into the car has rewarded us all with the win. We presented Wayne Hoiles, Fuchs CEO, with the winning Gold Christmas Tree as a show of gratitude for the continued support and high quality products. The proof of the quality of the Fuchs Lubricants is evident that in 7 runs, all between 5.763 and 5.869 we did not need to do any maintenance on the motor, diff or gearboxes. After the first the 5.76 runs we checked the bearings and they were like new”.

“We were set up in a prime position alongside the Fuchs PR marque and alongside the Lamatina Top Fuel Racing team, and it was great to meet so many of the Fuchs Staff, clients and Distributors who were invited to the meeting. A special mention also to our major Sponsors Speedmaster who continue to support our racing efforts”.

Qualifying for the event was a highlight for the National Champion, when the Fuchs Lubricants/Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro ran three consecutive “five seven” passes to claim top qualifier, low ET, and Top Speed points (Q1 – 5.766 @ 252.10, Q2 – 5.766 @ 250.78, and Q3 – 5.763 @ 253.33) Phillips 5.884, Kapiris 5.921 and O’Rourke 5.925 were closest out of the 16-car field, with the top 8 all under six seconds.

“It was like the car was on rails. We have been working for 12 months on trying to get a consistent “five seven” car, but the track has always been the problem – keeping the power to the ground. Southside Engine Centre have assisted us in getting our engine package super reliable at this new horsepower level, and the track surface came together nicely to allow us to produce those spectacular runs”.

Round 1 saw Zap with a solo run due to Travaglini unable to present. Zap managed a pedaling 5.809 @ 252.71mph after experiencing a little tyre shake.

“The crew turned the car around with minor servicing and very minute tuning adjustments, and we matched up against danger man Stuart Bishop – my main opponent so far this year and running second in the championship”

“We both had to pedal after shake, but the Crusher really responded well on the run and a 5.828 @ 252.57mph was too good for Bishop’s 6.137 @ 235.06mph. That meant another tough match up against in-form O’Rourke in the semi – there was no way I could slip in concentration on this one”.

The track seemed to be catching teams out on finals day in Top Doorslammer, with non-representative passes by many. In the Semi fellow West Aussie Gregorini won a place in the final by defeating Cannuli (6.762 @ 208.01mph) with a 6.024 @ 240.94mph pass. Zap did his magic again with another pedaling 5.869 @ 252.28mph win over O’Rourke 7.009 @ 142.19mph after he got into trouble with shake.

“The Crusher was really handling like a dream – other than that niggly shake that we just could not seem to eliminate through adjustments or tuning. Was great to get the win and match up against my fellow Perth Motorplex competitor Daniel in the final”.

The final was a great close race, with Gregorini super sharp on the lights with his two stepping screw set up – 0.072 to Zap’s 0.136. But the huge power of the Fuchs/Striker Crushing Monaro soon hauled him in and took the win with a 5.833 @ 252.90mph to 6.062 @ 236.26mph.

“Fantastic to get the win – I still had to give it a quick pedal in the final, but the car is strong and top end speed is consistently high now. We now improve our position on top of the Championship ladder as we move into the last few race meetings”.

“A big thank you to the crew for a stellar effort this weekend, especially my fulltime mechanic Gerry Andrijich who does an amazing job on the clutch and gearbox and all the work he does in the workshop. The depth of experience shows, and our preparation has been well done. A special thank you to Gerry and Diz for the years of help and support and we wish them well in their future. You are both still an integral part of Zappia Racing and are welcome to be a part of the crew whenever our timetables coincide”.

The team head back to Perth to freshen up Crusher, before heading north to Darwin in the Northern Territory for Round 7 of the ANDRA Championship.

On a sad note, all at Zappia Racing wish Ben Bray a speedy recovery after his horrific crash and also send our best wishes to all the Bray family.

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