Best result of the year for Walsh

ASH Walsh has secured his best finishing result of the year with seventh place at the famous Le Mans circuit in France last weekend.

Walsh, 20, qualified down in 21st place in the fourth round of the Western European Championship (for Formula Renault cars), but on a wet and drying circuit, he stormed through the pack to take his first top 10 result of the season.

The breakthrough result couldn’t have come at a better time for the AMSF International Rising Star. After a difficult start to his overseas career, plus a long mid-season break for the championship, this result has given the Queenslander a lot of confidence heading into the final four rounds.

The round of the Western European Championship was on the same weekend as the Eurocup (also for Formula Renault cars). As some drivers compete in both championships, it was a highly-competitive round. Thus, Walsh’s result is very good, considering he was the second-highest placed driver who only competes in the WEC.

Walsh races for Hitech Junior. Fellow Australian Daniel Riccardo won the WEC race.

The next round of the series is at Estoril in Portugal in two weeks.

WALSH ON HIS SEVENTH PLACE AT LE MANS:“I’m happy with that,” he said.“It’s certainly our best result for the season and a lot better than the results we’ve had so far.“I wasn’t happy with our qualifying session. We have a lot to work on in that department., but I made a good start and made up a heap of positions in the first few laps. I could have maybe made up one more spot in the end, but it was tough. The circuit was drying during the race so it was good to get up there.“I was a little lucky that the race was a little wet. In the dry, you get stuck where you are.”

WALSH ON THE RUSH OF ROUNDS FROM HERE ON:“My year is starting now,” he said.“I’ve got my next race in two weeks at Estoril, then a race for the next three weekends straight.“We’ve got no more testing for the year. Just races, which is good. It allows me to really focus getting comfortable in the car.“I’m looking forward to the next few rounds. Hopefully we can more speed and get a couple more results.”

WALSH ON THE LE MANS CIRCUIT:“It’s a very technical track," he says “There are a lot of medium speed corners, no big braking areas so it is very hard. The track itself is very tough.

“It was probably the biggest round of our year. The atmosphere was huge. The crowd there was massive. It was really cool.”

ASH WALSH DETAILS:

Name : Ashley WalshDate of Birth : 11 January 1988Born: Ipswich (Queensland), Australia

Walsh is driving in his first season in the West European Championship. This is a new championship, borne out of the old French Formula Renault Championship. Over 40 cars are entered in each round, with drivers coming from all corners of the globe to compete.Walsh drives for Hitech Junior – its first year in Formula Renault competition. Walsh has four team-mates – one each from Wales, England, Spain and Columbia.Walsh is a graduate of the CAMS Rising Star program, and is competing as an inaugural AMSF International Rising Star this year. He races with the support of the Australian Motor Sports Foundation and its associate backers.

2008 RESULTS:

Round 1, Nogaro, FranceQ1: 17thQ2: 19thR1: 12thR2: 17th

Round 2, Dijon, FranceQ1: 21stQ2: 20th R1: 18th R2: 15th

Round 3, Valencia, Spain Q1: 25thQ2: 20th R1: 20th R2: 20th

Round 4, Le Mans, France Q: 21st R: 7th

2007: Second in the Australian Formula Ford Championship2006: Third in the Australian Formula Ford Championship2005: Formula Ford debut2004: Australian CIK Inter Continental A Karting Champion2003: Australian Junior Clubman and Piston Port