Sport

Walsh on fast track to big time

CONFIDENT PERFORMER: Ipswich racer Ash Walsh made up tremendous ground with the Dick Johnson Racing team at the Sandown 500 after some early challenges.
CONFIDENT PERFORMER: Ipswich racer Ash Walsh made up tremendous ground with the Dick Johnson Racing team at the Sandown 500 after some early challenges. DIRK KLYNSMITH

ASH Walsh's hopes of a podium finish at the Sandown 500 last Saturday seemed like a distant dream gone wrong.

With Walsh and Scott Pye struggling to qualify in 19th position with the Dick Johnson Racing team, ambitions had to be revised.

"I wasn't thinking that after a pretty tough Saturday," Walsh (pictured) said of his high hopes before qualifying.

"We just didn't get the car to work set-up wise on the green tyres. We easily had the pace of the top 10, if not the top five on Friday. But we didn't put it together well.

"We weren't getting the front and rear balance to come in at the same time and feel the grip of the new tyre."

However, once the race started, the DJR car improved dramatically and Walsh took the car from 19th to the top 10.

Pye was the able to get it into fifth spot, before Walsh finished the race pushing the podium place-getters to the flag.

"As the rubber went down during the race, the car just got better and better," Walsh said.

Walsh drove the car for 79 of the 161 laps in three stints behind the wheel.

"If we'd started higher, we would have ended on the podium," he said. "We had one of the fastest cars on track.

"Third place went to Garth Tander and Warren Luff and in the end I was trying to pass Luff. So hopefully there are good signs for Bathurst."

Walsh sits second on the Dunlop V8 Development Series standings.

This was his fourth drive in Enduro events - the only opportunities he has had at the top level of V8 racing in Australia.

In three of those, he has made huge ground while behind the wheel.

So Sunday's effort in particular can only have put him closer to his goal of securing a full-time drive in the main game.

"It gives me confidence I can match the guys at the top level," Walsh said.

"And it shows all the people who make decisions what I'm capable of."

A similar effort at the Bathurst 1000 in three weeks would leave no doubt Walsh deserves a shot in the big time. He goes in confident knowing he could have given even more at Sandown.

"I wasn't operating at 100 percent," he said.

"I was just trying to keep the car on track for Scott, keep good fuel economy and preserve the tyres.

"I'm confident at Bathurst if I have to knock it up another 10 percent, there's something there."

He just hopes the car is in optimum shape to help him take advantage.

"You don't know what can happen," he said.

"The potential is there but you need a lot of things to go right."

Topics:  ash walsh, sandown 500



City View Hotel: From a pub to a backpackers

NEW LIFE: Hamish Parker has purchsed the City View Hotel and wants to turn it into an accomodation venue.

Architect picks up a little piece of history for a steal

Miracle 'rainbow' baby's nightmare start to life

RAY OF SUNSHINE: Baby Aaliyah Jade Bunnie with parents Natasha Heilbronn and David Bunnie.

Aaliyah's battle against the odds after mum's pregnancy problems

Job figures reveal USQ degree works

HOT SEAT: USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas.

Uni gets five-stars for graduate employment

Local Partners

Latest deals and offers

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Gympie Muster couch dumps down, but still a problem

TIPPING POINT: After an appalling year of couches being dumped at the end of the last Muster, festival organisers have taken litterbugs to task

EFFORTS to combat post-Muster couch dumping are proving effective

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

City View Hotel: From a pub to a backpackers

NEW LIFE: Hamish Parker has purchsed the City View Hotel and wants to turn it into an accomodation venue.

Architect picks up a little piece of history for a steal

Pub's run-in with law

OLD LOOK: The City View Hotel in 1914.

Prohibition was an issue Ipswich's police officers took seriously

Selling City View was tough call

Former City View Hotel part-owner Wayne Patch.

Over the years there have been numerous proposals for the building

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates