Walsh fires on V8 debut

IMPRESSIVE START: Ash Walsh crosses the finish line in eighth place in race two of the Clipsal 500.
IMPRESSIVE START: Ash Walsh crosses the finish line in eighth place in race two of the Clipsal 500. Contributed

ASH Walsh's V8 Supercars series debut for Erebus Motorsport contained a mixture of extreme highs and lows.

Walsh went into the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide expecting a frenetic start to the series and test of his abilities.

His ability shone through in the second race as he finished eighth on Saturday. His car let him down in two of the three races.

Walsh qualified in 19th spot for race one but wasn't able to advance on that, finishing 20th with his number four Mercedes not performing as he had hoped.

"It was my first race in the main series so I was a little nervous at the start,'' the Yamanto product said. "But the last 10 laps or so the car improved and I knew there was potential to improve for the second race.

"So I sat down with my engineer Wes (McDougall) and we tuned up the car, and she was perfect for race two."

The car was perfect and Walsh showed his talent after qualifying in 15th spot on the grid.

Walsh was able to make up seven places in the race, passing the likes of big names Lee Holdsworth, Mark Winterbottom, Todd Kelly and Shane van Gisbergen to finish eighth.

"The car was a pleasure to drive in race two," Walsh said.

"I was 0.7 seconds a lap faster than in race one, so it was a real race and I was able to mix it with the other cars.

"I couldn't believe it, to be honest. I was rolling around at the start and wasn't really sure where I was and I just tried to push on as hard as I could.

"We made some changes to the car and it really came alive."

Acknowledging his rookie status, Walsh admitted that racing in the main game was a big step up from the Development Series, where he finished third in 2014.

"It was a bit of a weird feeling racing the same guys I've been watching for so long," he said.

"Although we've raced here before, Clipsal is a real baptism of fire for rookies like me.

"The main game is much more intense than what I'm used to in the Development Series."

So it proved in race three on Sunday, when Walsh experienced a main power supply shutdown, leaving him unable to even return to the garage, let alone finish the race.

Walsh's retirement couldn't dampen his impressive debut in the main game, with Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan Maddison delighted in the youngster's debut performance.

"Ash's performance throughout the whole weekend was well above expectations," he said.

"This is such a tough circuit for a rookie to the category and if what he managed to do across this event is a sign of things to come then I'm really looking forward to what Ash will do with the team."

Topics:  ash walsh v8 supercars

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