Zero to hero for John Zappia

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Reigning ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia went from a non-qualifying performance in the opening round of the series in Sydney to top qualifier in Perth following day one of the 41st annual Goldenstates.

Zappia’s time of 5.82 in the Fuchs/Striker Holden Monaro in the final session stood atop the ladder after a torrid night of qualifying for the 19 Top Doorslammers at the WA venue.

“That feels a lot better,” he said. “We backed it off a bit to go down the track in the first session, then we put the Sydney tune up back in and it was too crazy, so we went back to the first tune up and made baby steps from there to get the 5.82.”

Zappia was lucky to escape the clutches of the Perth Motorplex walls in the second session of qualifying when the car turned hard left and got perilously close to the concrete.

“That was close enough,” he said. “When it first turned I thought this is not good, but we got away with it.”

Not so lucky was Top Doorslammer debutant Shane Catalano who lost control of his beautiful Studebaker and made heavily contact with the barriers. Catalano was unhurt but his dream race car was looking the worse for wear.

Top Doorslammer newcomer Pat Carbone qualified on the quick bump spot with a 6.03 and will take on Zappia in round one on Saturday.

In Top Alcohol, last year’s Goldenstates event winner Rob Pilkington was a somewhat unexpected top qualifier with a 5.77 pass.

The field struggled to put down quick times with the final session abandoned as the Friday night curfew came into effect.

Pilkington was still happy to take the honour.

“It’s not respective of what we expected, but we’re in a lucky position now as we have the solo in the first round tomorrow so we can throw something at it,” he said.

“We were a little bit flat tonight and we want to be quicker time wise but we’re still confident we can give it a good shake tomorrow.”

Eliminations racing for the ANDRA championship rounds of Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol begins at 6pm Saturday.

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