Ash Walsh proved once again he is one of the fastest men tackling the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup series at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend with a strong drive to a front row grid spot in Qualifying. With the round reduced to just two races, this was a critical performance however the Carrera Cup Race Stewards saw otherwise and docked Walsh four grid positions for ‘impeding another competitor’ during Qualifying.
The Infants’ Friend GT3 Cup Car driver was gutted as it put him back to sixth spot for the opening 16 lap race on Saturday. Walsh started well and was running strongly early in the race before spinning out of sixth position on the third lap – dropping as low as last before rebounding to 11th at the line.
The second race would see Ash start the Infant’s Friend / Bob Jane from 11th, and with the bit between his teeth he stormed up the order. He was in 8th at the end of the first lap and then passed Steve Richards to move to seventh. Setting the fastest lap of the race, Ash could not catch Dean Fiore and finished in sixth position.
Overall he finished in 8th for the round and now has his sights set on Sandown for Round 6 in three weeks’ time.
Ash Walsh #777 Sonic Porsche GT 3 Cup
“The weekend started very well, but I was really frustrated by the grid penalty after such a good Qualifying. The Sonic boys really had the GT 3 on song, but to drop four grid spots hurt us.
“I guess I was just pushing on really hard to regain those positions when I drooped a wheel into the dirt at Turn 6 and spun. There is quite a few ruts and things off the track surface, and it just pitched me round and I had to wait for the whole field to go by.
“We managed to get a reasonable result and it showed just how good the Infants’ Friend Porsche was at SMSP. We have to regroup and now focus on Sandown. I really like the track and feel we can shoot for a good result.”
The 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup continues this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park with round five of the eight round series being run. Ash Walsh currently sits in sixth place in the Championship, but a good result this weekend can see him claw his way back up the order. The Infants’ Friend Porsche driver will be on the grid at Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the largest Porsche Carrera Cup event to be staged in Australia, with 44 911 GT3 Cup cars set to start the nation’s first Carrera Cup joint round.
In a very unique event, the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup will be joined in Sydney by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, for the Asian series’ first ever event Down Under. With 44 identical cars competing across the two series, the event marks the largest gathering of current generation Carrera Cup cars in the Southern Hemisphere.
The two championships will contest their weekends separately (practice, qualifying and two races) before the series combine for two class based races to conclude the weekend.
Walsh was enthusiastic about the concept but added that it puts more pressure on the round as there are only two point scoring races. After a season so far which has seen a race win and podium, Walsh is hungry for a good result in Sydney.
Ash Walsh #777 Sonic Porsche GT 3 Cup
“We have had a long gap between races and I am looking forward to getting back into the Infants’ Friend / Bob Jane T Marts Porsche. The Sonic boys have done quite a bit of work on the cars since Darwin, and I have been able to focus on my Supercars Endurance role with Tim Slade, driving the car at QR and a full test day at Winton.
“My focus now is to try and close down the gap to the guys in front in the points score. We only have two races this weekend towards the Championship as the Asian Carrera Cup shares racing on the same program. It is a cool idea and the race with the combined grid at the end of Sunday should be fun.
“With only three rounds to go we have to get a very consistent result this weekend, but this is a track I enjoy and the team is confident of a good result.”