WALSH GOES FOURTH
Ipswich driver Ash Walsh is pleased to come away from the opening round of the 2010 Genuine Ford Parts Australian Formula Ford Championship, held at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, just nine points off the leader. He explains “We knew this would be our toughest round of the season for a number of reasons, including the fact that our strongest challengers for the championship all raced at the GP last year.”
The weekend started very well, with Walsh setting the 2nd fastest time in the only practice session. Ash ended qualifying in 9th position after a difficult 20 minute session. “Starting the first lap of quali, I found myself leading a bunch of cars and didn’t want to simply drag them around in my slipstream. Unfortunately, by the time I found some clear track space, the best of the new tyres was used. But we’re in the top ten and we can race from there,” said an upbeat Walsh.
The team discussed some setup changes for the race and Ash was able to make his way through the field, running as high as 3rd in the opening laps and fighting in a pack of three cars for most of the race. It was the most entertaining dice in the field and as a result, featured strongly as part of the Channel Ten telecast. Ash took a hard fought 4th to bank a good haul of points to start his season. “That was a tough race!” he said afterwards. “The car is quick but this track is surprisingly bumpy, especially in the braking areas. I don’t think we were as strong there; but 4th is a great start and we can fine tune the setup for race two.”
The small changes made for the final race seemed to work well and Ash was eagerly looking for a way past a very defensive competitor in the first two laps. The race was then red flagged and abandoned when Ash’s team mate Caleb Rayner crashed heavily after receiving contact from another car. “The changes we made were good. We were really strong under brakes and I’m sure we would have been able to move forward. But they had to stop the race to attend to Caleb; that was a big hit and it is a relief to hear that he is ok,” Ash commented.
“Overall I’m happy with the weekend,” said Walsh. “The car is straight and we’re in a good position with points. I’m looking forward to the next round, which is my home track at Queensland Raceway.”
Ash drives the Spectrum 012 Formula Ford for Borland Racing Developments. He would like to thank his sponsors King’s Fibreglass, SES Linear Bearings and Penske Racing Shocks.