John Zappia and his Fuchs Monaro won the East Coast Nationals Pro Slammer crown in Sydney with a resounding 5.762 at 249.58mph in the final.
It was an extraordinary weekends racing where teams had to get a handle on a very tricky track, and master the ever changing weather.
“It was a tough weekend for us in the pits,” Zappia said.
“We were doing it tough back there and the Zappia Racing crew were on top of it as usual. It was great to get the win – the track came around nicely for us in the final and we were able to at least put down a 5.7.”
Saturday’s qualifying saw two sessions finished before the weather forced a stop to racing. Zap’s 5.921 @ 241.63 off the trailer was enough for him to top the list.
“We discovered a serious chassis crack before [the third session] that required a repair. Luckily Craig Burns from SCF Racecars was at his home track, and we were able to get him to complete a chassis repair on site. Craig built the Crusher originally and this is our seventh season of racing with it. We were not able to make the third qualifier Sunday morning, but were good to go for eliminations”.
The qualified field saw two newcomers to the pointy end – a returning Andrew Searle and “Mr 10.5” Frank Mamone making his transition to Top Doorslammer. Top runners Mark Belleri, Ben Bray, Grant O’Rourke and Peter Kapiris all qualified, with Belleri top qualifying with a 5.886.
Round one saw Zap up against his arch rival Kapiris, and it was Zap who got very lucky when his Fuchs Monaro ran a 5.879 at 204.35mph dropping a valve before the 1000 foot mark and sneaked in for the win by .001 seconds to Pete’s 6.134 at 228.81mph.
Other winners in round one were Belleri with a 5.894, Bray, and a lucky Searle who got a solo after O’Rourke chose not to run due to a problem with the car.
The Zappia Racing crew managed a complete engine change in the turnaround and presented against Searle in the semi final and took the win with a pedaling 5.952. Bray got the win in the other semi against Belleri who had an unfortunate collision with the wall to disqualify his run.
This set up another huge battle between the two big teams in Top Doorslammer racing – Zappia vs Bray. The reigning champ Zappia won the final with a meeting Low ET 5.762 to maintain his position at number 1 in the Pro Slammer championship and further increase his points lead.
“This meeting was all about the tune and setup, and having over 550 runs of data at our disposal, our Monaro is able to be set up to get down most tracks – even with a pedal. My clutch guy Gerry, data analyst Richard (thanks Paul Topping for filling in for Richard) and I can usually come up with a fine tune that will give us a competitive pass, and we are able to adapt to various conditions based on the recorded data we have”.
Zappia Racing heads back to Perth for this weekend’s WA Championship Pro Slammer meeting with the NCQR to be run at 3:30pm followed by the Compulsory Qualifier at 6:00pm, Elimination Round at 8:00pm and the B and A Finals at 9:56 and 10:00pm.
Mark BELLERI 5.886/246.08
John ZAPPIA 5.921/241.63
Andrew SEARLE 5.940/233.52
Frank MAMONE 5.943/239.78
Ben BRAY 5.989/239.27
Grant O’ROURKE 5.990/242.67
Peter KAPIRIS 5.997/251.30
Geoff GRADDEN 6.237/237.55
PRIOLO 6.487/ 217.00
BELLERI 5.894/246.39 DEF GRADDEN 12.344/54.82;
B BRAY 6.255/210.05 DEF MAMONE 8.578/110.54
ZAPPIA 5.879/204.35 DEF KAPIRIS 6.134/228.81
SEARLE 6.364/227.04 DEF O’ROURKE NTR
B BRAY 18.459/25.06 DEF BELLERI 12.297/40.03 (HIT WALL)
ZAPPIA 5.952/247.93 DEF SEARLE 8.626/107.33
ZAPPIA 5.762/249.58 DEF B BRAY 6.325/186.74