Sport

Kiwi series challenge for in-demand Walsh

Ash Walsh will race in Perth this weekend.
Ash Walsh will race in Perth this weekend. Sarah Harvey

ASH Walsh has spent enough of his motor racing career battling to get a drive.

So when he was offered a drive in the New Zealand V8 Super Tourer series on top of his Australian V8 Development series drive, he wasn't going to knock it back.

Yamanto racer Walsh will attempt to emulate Scott McLaughlin's 2012 season by running in both.

Walsh ran his first laps at the tricky Hampton Downs circuit, south of Auckland, last Friday.

That came after a last-minute flight to New Zealand from Queensland on Thursday evening.

Walsh (pictured) crashed out early in the first race but finished eighth in the second and fifth in race three, for an eight place finish overall.

Greg Murphy won all three races to take a firm grip on the championship.

"The car is very different to a development series car, with sharper turn in," Walsh said of his MPC-run V8 ST Holden.

"It was a bit of a challenge this morning running the new car on a new circuit, but I am very excited to be running in both series this year.

"Scott did a fantastic job in 2012 with a similar schedule, and it shows it can be done."

The opportunity came up because the MPC engineers for his NZ cars are the same who work on his Australian Matt Stone Racing development series car.

"They thought it would be good for me to do both," Walsh said.

"The extra driving means I'm more prepared for the main game (Australian V8 Supercars) and enduros.

"It puts me in a better position. And it doesn't clash with the development series stuff, so happy days."

Walsh heads into both series with realistic expectations for the new season.

"In the Dunlop (development) series, it's really difficult to see where the car is going to be," he said.

"There is a little bit less main game support because of the car of the future.

"So it is hard to tell at this point but I'll be disappointed if I'm not fighting for podiums."

It is a similar scenario in NZ.

"I had never seen the car before," Walsh said of his first drive in the MPC car at the weekend.

"I ended up going pretty well.

"I was disappointed in race one. I got hit off at the first corner and spent the rest of the round playing catch-up.

"The car might be lacking a little bit of speed but I'll definitely be going for podiums."

Walsh's thoughts have turned to Adelaide where he will compete in round one of the V8 Development series on March 2-3.

Topics:  ash walsh motor racing



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