Ipswich ace in V8 hot seat
THIS weekend presents the last chance for Ash Walsh to convince the major V8 Supercar teams he deserves a full-time drive next year.
Walsh's Dunlop Development Series title hopes are over for 2014.
But the Gold Coast 600 is the opportunity to enhance impressive performances in the previous two legs of the Enduro Cup - at Sandown and Bathurst.
"I want to move up," Walsh said.
"It's been my goal the last two years.
"I'll never have a better opportunity.
"I've had strong Enduro Cup results so I feel I should be there.
"So I really don't want to mess up the hard work I did at Bathurst and Sandown."
Walsh had the road-trip back from Bathurst with Dick Johnson Racing co-driver Scott Pye to digest what went down last weekend.
It was an enjoyable trip, despite having seen their hopes disappear when Pye blew a tyre.
"We were spewing a little bit about what could have been," Walsh said.
"It happens. It's Bathurst."
Walsh took the Dick Johnson Racing Falcon from eighth to fourth before handing back to Pye.
"I was pretty happy with my stint," Walsh said.
"I had good speed and was starting to make something of it.
"The fuel (consumption) was good as well."
Walsh has savoured success at the Gold Coast track, winning there in Formula Ford and impressing in his team's 19th and 16th placed finishes in the two races of last year's Gold Coast 600.
"Usually you need a different mindset (compared to Bathurst)," Walsh said.
"But this year it might be similar - try not to crash.
"They've changed the chicanes and put tyre barriers back in so it's a bit safer.
"It means we've got to re-learn how to take the chicanes.
"So we don't know how the car's going to be with the set-up."
Hopefully that is all ironed out in today's practice sessions so Walsh and Pye can start from high on the grid.
It is a necessity on the street circuit which makes overtaking near impossible.
"There's no reason we can't finish in the top five if we get a good qualifying result," Walsh said.
- Sandown 500: Ash Walsh and Scott Pye finish fifth, having started from 19th.
- Bathurst: Walsh takes car into fourth spot before a tyre blow-out with Scott Pye behind the wheel ends their race.
- Gold Coast 500: Race 1 tomorrow, 2.40pm; Race 2 Sunday, 1.55pm.