Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series rookie Ash Walsh is feeling confident heading into the first qualifying session of the season, after finishing practice sixth fastest.
The 23-year-old Miles Racing Ford driver provided the surprise of the day, ending the two sessions just 0.7s adrift of pace-setter Andrew Thompson (Monster Holden).
Thompson’s best of 1:22.6977s was enough to edge out Jack Perkins (Supercheap Ford), while Nick Percat (Coats Hire Holden), David Russell (Jayco Ford) and Jason Richards (Tricor Holden) rounded out the top five.
Walsh, a former Australian Formula Ford Championship front-runner, said his top-six performance was a confidence booster heading into his first race in the class.
“Today’s result was far beyond my expectations,” said Walsh.
“I was hoping we’d be able to run at least mid-field on debut so to finish the day sixth quickest has really buoyed my confidence,” he added.
“Prior to today my V8 experience was limited to a couple of test days at Queensland Raceway which is a world away from the circuit here.
“The car felt really well balanced all day and I could concentrate on learning the intricacies of the track and not have to worry about set-up to much.
“Towards the end of the last session I did struggle with a bit of understeer but nothing we can’t iron out overnight – I’m pumped for qualifying tomorrow morning.”
Taz Douglas (CRG Holden) was seventh fastest, ahead of Tim Blanchard (Jayco Ford), Walsh’s team-mate and fellow rookie Chaz Mostert, and Scott McLaughlin (Fujitsu Ford).
Qualifying for the Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series gets underway at 9:40am tomorrow.