The final round of the 2012 Dunlop Series has produced a complete turn around in fortune for simPRO Falcon driver Ash Walsh. After an accident in Qualifying, the Matt Stone Racing team were faced with a repair job which unfortunately saw the ex Stone Bros FG Falcon still in the garage as the field took the grid for Race 1. Although damage was not extensive, it did require the team to re fit the front end suspension and uprights and as new parts were being run in Sydney, the team did not have a full complement of spares.
The first race continued the Dunlop Series tradition of action at the tight Olympic Park track and Walsh was left to rue what may well have been a very good result.
The final race for 2012 had a field of 19 cars with Walsh starting last. His mission was clear, pass as many cars as possible and keep the car straight! From the Green Light, Ash and fellow rear of grid starter Nick Percat cut a swathe through the field. After Lap 1, Ash was up to 13th and catching the group in front of him quickly. Although the car was set up to what was effectively an older spec, Ash found it had great race pace and by mid race was one of the fastest cars on the track.
Moving comfortably into the Top 10 on Lap 4, Walsh kept punching out fast laps passing Emery and Youlden to move into position 7. As the laps ran out, Walsh could not quite bridge the gap to Andy Jones but a 19th to 7th result was a great reward for Ash and the Matt Stone crew.
“It was unfortunate to be out of Saturday’s race, so I really wanted to finish the year with a strong race. The MSR boys did a great job to get the simPRO Falcon back together.” Walsh said. “The car was quick and it gives you really good motivation for next season. I was still lapping fast at the end of the race and the car really hung on well. Our race pace this year has been good; we just need to work harder on the qualifying speed.”
The 2012 Dunlop Series was won by Scott McLaughlin. The non start on Saturday cost Ash valuable points and he finished the year in 7th place overall and 2nd in the V8 Supercar Privateers Cup. The series resumes in Adelaide in 2013 at the Clipsal 500.