Brakes halt Walshs progress

WEEKEND-LONG brake problems saw Ash Walsh finish with a best result of 15th in the penultimate round of the West European Cup for Formula Renault cars at Magny Cours, France, last weekend.

Walsh, competing with the assistance of the Australian Motor Sport Foundation through its AMSF International Rising Star program, struggled with braking issues the entire weekend. It was a problem that his Hi-Tech Junior team had with all of its team’s cars, and it cost Walsh dearly.

Walsh did, however, make up positions relative to his qualifying form. In Race 1, he started 18th and finished 15th, while in Race 2, he started 21st and came home 16th.

The 20-year-old Ipswich lad had high hopes heading to the famous Magny Cours circuit, as it was one of few tracks that Walsh had driven on beforehand.

In testing at the track earlier in the year, Walsh had run inside the top 10, but last weekend, he couldn’t replicate that form.

The final round of the West European Cup will be at Barcelona, Spain, this weekend.

ASH ON HIS WEEKEND:“I had troubles with braking from day one and the performance of the car only improved slightly over the weekend. But it was never going to be enough to be where we needed to be,” he said. “I couldn’t hit the brakes. I had to brake early everywhere. Anytime I hit the brakes hard, I was destroying tyres. It was almost a joke.“We just never got it fixed over the weekend, and that was what cost us.“My team-mates had similar problems, but looking at the data, I was struggling more than what they were.“To be honest, it’s been a difficult year, and I’m looking forward to finishing the season on a high note at Barcelona this weekend.”

ASH ON HIS FIRST YEAR AS AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVER:“I have learnt a lot this season – both on and off the track.“I guess I was thrown in the deep end. I moved out of home, travelling around to new places where I can’t speak the language, racing new tracks. It’s been a very challenging year. I think I’ve grown up, though.“Racing wise, my first season has been a blur. You’ve got to learn the tracks, the cars and get used to the style of racing.“The thing I’ve picked up the most, though, is that you have to be ‘on it’ all the time. If you don’t get the best out of your car every session, you’re out. You can’t afford to crash and you can’t afford to miss a session. You have to make every lap count.“I couldn’t believe the racing style over when I first came over here. They race really aggressively, but I got used to it fairly quickly. It’s like going from karting to racing cars, it’s different but you get used to it.”

ASH ON ENCOURAGING AUSTRALIANS TO RACE OVERSEAS:“I think the guys in Australia have enough talent to come over here and do the job properly and get results,” he said.“It’s just a matter of getting the right package and having the right people around you. If you are with the right team, I think more Australians can win races over here. I certainly encourage more Aussies to come and race.”