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.