Top 15 the best for Ash Walsh at Dijon YOUNG Australian race driver Ash Walsh had a promising, yet ultimately frustrating second round of the West European Championship (Formula Renault) at Dijon, France, last weekend. Walsh, 20, driving for...
Top 15 the best for Ash Walsh at Dijon
YOUNG Australian race driver Ash Walsh had a promising, yet ultimately frustrating second round of the West European Championship (Formula Renault) at Dijon, France, last weekend.
Walsh, 20, driving for Hitech Junior, started the weekend full of promise after a very encouraging practice session at the French track. He finished the practice sessions inside the top 10 and felt confident of similar results in the two races. However, an unexplained change in his car's performance resulted in two poor qualifying results for the AMSF International Rising Star, before finishing 18th and 15th in the two races.
Both races were reasonably uneventful for Walsh himself, picking up a couple of spots in both events.
But what did raise his eyebrows was the tyre issues that plagued the category at Dijon. The recently resurfaced track was hard on the Michelin tyres and it caused an extraordinary amount of tyre failures. The first race to be red flagged due to the problem, and the second race was again cut short by five minutes to reduce the risk of tyres blowing out.
Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo won both races over the weekend.
Walsh's next race will be at Valencia, in Spain on June 20. Due to testing restrictions, he is unable to test his Formula Renault car before the race.
WALSH ON HIS DIJON WEEKEND:
"My whole race weekend was shocking," he said.
"Practice was awesome, and we had such great hopes for a good result, but we came away with nothing.
"Going into qualifying, I thought that I would be inside the top 10, maybe even inside the five. We did some qualifying simulations in practice, and I only used one set of tyres to set my top 10 time and I ended up only three tenths off the fastest.
"But in qualifying, the car wasn't the same at all. A lot of rubber laid down on the track and I was 1.3s slower in similar weather conditions.
"I just lost grip overall. The car wasn't the same. It's just so frustrating to come into qualifying, thinking we were going to be in the top 10, and not have the car under neath me to do it."
WALSH ON THE MICHELIN TYRE ISSUES:
"The track is very quick in the last couple of last corners. It's also a very abrasive track, hard on the tyres. They have resurfaced some of the corners, and the tyres couldn't cope.
"The organisers shortened the last race by five minutes, but still some had tyres explode. They red flagged the first race due to it.
"I had one tyre go down during the weekend, but luckily I didn't crash. After my last race, two thirds of my front left tyre is missing!"
WALSH ON DIJON'S POSITIVES;
"Results-wise, there's nothing we can take out of this weekend.
"But after the testing, I've proved that I can be on the same speed as the front-runners. Now, it's just a matter of getting it all together. I'm glad to have had a few sessions at the front of the field. I think it's a huge confidence boost for me."