Ash Walsh continues to make good progress at Winton SuperSprint.

The Winton SuperSprint delivered a mixed bag of results for Erebus V8 Supercar driver Ash Walsh.  Qualifying for the two Saturday Sprints, showed how important grid positions are at Winton as Ash claimed 22nd for Race 1, but a backed it up with an excellent 16th for Race 2.

These two grid positions dictated Ash’s races as there was little chance to pass in the twin 20 lap journeys. Walsh was content with his progress during the day but said the team would have a re-think with car set-up overnight ahead of tomorrow’s 200km race.

“Yeah obviously it was a bit of an improvement thanks to a better qualifying session,’’ said Walsh.

“We improved the car after race 1, still struggled with tyre degradation and understeer throughout the race so we’ll have a bit of a re-think overnight.

“It’s so hard to pass here so it’s all about qualifying and that’s where the focus will be set for the longer race.’’

Sunday reverted to the 200km race with re fuelling and the use of the Dunlop Soft tyre. Another strong qualifying performance from Ash put the Infant’s Friend / AUSBlue AMG E63 in an outstanding P13. The early laps saw Walsh in a number of battles with Nick Percat, James Moffat and Lee Holdsworth. He pitted for the first time on Lap 12 and ran his second stint chasing Dale Wood’s Commodore until a Safety Car saw the whole field dive for the pit on Lap 33. A long run to the end did not see Walsh regain his qualifying position and he crossed the line in P22.

Despite the rough end to the weekend, Walsh said there were positives to take out of the meeting particularly with qualifying and a solid run in the Sunday race.

“We qualified well, and ran mid-pack during the race. I got into a few big battles and got beaten up a bit at the end which sort of shuffled us back to P2. I think we did have a car capable of running in the Top 15, but the race did not pan out for us.” Walsh commented as the Erebus squad headed back to Queensland.

The team has a month’s break to regroup before the next round of the V8 Supercars Championship in Darwin from June 19-21.

Ash Walsh makes good progress with AMG E63 at Perth Super Sprint.

Ash Walsh headed to Barbagallo Raceway with a full test day under his belt in the Infants’ Friend / AUSBlue supported Erebus E63 Mercedes Benz. Walsh had taken benefit of the ‘Rookie’ test day afforded to him to really get to grips with the car and his new team. A productive day was the outcome most noticeably the gains made with the upgraded Erebus AMG engine aboard the car.

Qualifying was a mixed bag for Walsh who had enjoyed success at the Perth circuit in previous years during his Dunlop Series campaigns. A P16 in the first Qualifying was a good result, however the second Qualifying for Saturday’s races saw Walsh miss the best of the his tyres on the final run and he qualified P25.

The two Saturday Races were the 60km Super Sprints. A tough format with little passing opportunities over the 25 laps. Walsh held station in the first race finishing in P17 but made great ground in the second moving up seven spots to finish in P18.

Sunday was the 200km final and again a P16 grid spot would put Walsh in a good position. Ash spent the main part of the race around his starting position but bad luck would come on Lap 46 of the 83 lap journey when he looped the Merc E63 at the long Turn 6, and became stuck in the sand trap. Although the tyre was flat when the car arrived back at the pits, Walsh was unsure if it had deflated prior to the spin.

Ash Walsh – #4 Erebus V8 – Mercedes Benz AMG E63
“Even though qualifying didn’t quite go to plan and we finished back in the field in the second race on Saturday, it was the most comfortable I’ve felt in the car during a race. I was able to pass cars and the tyre life was very good.

“We went in the right direction with set-up so we knew heading into Sunday’s longer race we had a good base line to work from. I was protecting my position from Scott McLaughlin and lost the back end into Turn 6. The left rear tyre was flat but I was just not sure if it caused the spin or was flat as result of it. Overall though I felt we made a good step forward. There is no doubt there is a chunk of time with the engine upgrade. It was a great result for the team with Will winning on Sunday, and it shows the potential we have. Will is a great yardstick for me and I’m sure we will continue to improve.”

The next round of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship will be held at Winton on May 15 – 17.

Test day and engine upgrades provide Ash Walsh with a strong package for Perth Super Sprint.

Round three of the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship takes place at the tough Barbagallo Raceway in Perth this weekend. Ash Walsh arrives in WA fresh from his ‘rookie’ test day at Queensland Raceway last week. The Erebus V8 team also confirmed that Ash would be running the engine upgrades team-mate Will Davison used to good effect at Symmons Plains recently in the AMG E63.

Although Tasmania proved tough for the Erebus squad, Walsh backed up his Clipsal 500 performance with a Top 15 in the Sunday 200km race.

The race format in Perth is the same as Tasmania and once again tyres will be the focus of all drivers and teams. The Barbagallo surface is notoriously hard and abrasive on the Dunlop slicks and the cars will have to run one set of the ‘soft’ Sprint tyres during the Sunday 200km race.

Following the Erebus test day the Infants’ Friend and AusBlue sponsored driver had this to say:

“The test day was fantastic for me and the whole team. It is so important to gel with the all the guys and I am still new to Erebus and the main game. It really helps when you know they have got your back and you have got theirs. It works seamlessly when that vibe is there.”

“We were down to business quickly and Wes (McDougall – Ash’s race engineer) had a full program to run though. I am really building a good relationship with him and we are working very well together. He is tough where he needs to be and is making sure any bad habits I have are being removed! He is a psychologist, guidance counselor and engineer all wrapped up in one.” Walsh commented with a smile.

“The test gave me a chance to practice race starts and pit stops. Something you just do not have the time to do on race weekends. We practiced two and four tyre stops, cross tyre stops – the lot. We got through a lot particularly running the new engine. I am really happy that we can head to Perth with more experience and a better understating of the car and crew.” Walsh said.

PERTH SUPER SPRINT RACE SCHEDULE
All Times Australian Western Time (add 2 hours for Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Friday, May 1
10:30-11:30 – Practice 1 – 60 mins
13:30-14:30 – Practice 2 – 60 mins

Saturday, May 2
9:15-9:30 – Practice 3 – 15 mins
10:40-10:50 – Qualifying 1 – 10 mins
11:05-11:15 – Qualifying 2 – 10 mins
13:15-13:50 – Race 7 – 25 Laps
15:15-15:50 – Race 8 – 25 Laps

Sunday, May 3
10:55-11:10 – Practice 4 – 15 mins
12:00-12:20 – Qualifying 3 – 20 mins
14:20-15:50 – Race 9 – 83 Laps

www.ashwalshmotorsport.com.au
Twitter @AshWalsh45
www.infantsfriend.com.au
www.ausblue.com.au