Heimgartner to partner Slade at GC600

Andre Heimgartner pic: Daniel Kalisz

Andre Heimgartner will partner Tim Slade at this weekend’s Vodafone Gold Coast 600 as Ash Walsh continues his recovery from injury.

The New Zealander was drafted in to fill in for Walsh in the #14 Brad Jones Racing Commodore at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Walsh had been set to to drive but was forced to pull out after suffering four fractured ribs an a contusion on his right lung following a testing crash at Phillip Island.

Heimgartner helped Slade in guiding the Freightliner Racing Holden home in ninth position at Mount Panorama .

The 22-year-old will jump back behind the wheel after scoring a podium finish in the Blancpain GT Series Asia at China’s Zhejiang International Circuit last weekend.

“After having such a good experience with Brad Jones Racing at Bathurst, I am ecstatic to have this call-up to race with the team on the Gold Coast this weekend,” said Heimgartner, who will also participate in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia this weekend.

“Despite the fact that my Bathurst drive with them was last-minute and Friday morning especially was a bit rushed as a result, I felt instantly comfortable with the team and they made me feel very welcome all weekend long with a friendly atmosphere which I really enjoyed.

“To get the call-up again for this weekend is an opportunity I wasn’t expecting, but which I am very grateful for.

“It is going to be another busy weekend, but one which I am very much looking forward to.

“Of course, I want to wish Ash Walsh a speedy recovery – I can’t imagine what he is going through at the moment and the last thing you want to do is take a seat away from someone, especially in this circumstance.

“Hopefully we will be able to see Ash in good health and back behind the wheel soon.”

While disappointed to be unable to drive this weekend, Walsh will watch on from the sidelines.

“It’s heartbreaking to miss out on these races with Sladey,” said Walsh.

“It’s not only a lot of fun, but the car has plenty of potential, so you always wish you were in there driving and gunning to win.

“The team have done a great job in looking after me and trying to get me back on track.

“They facilitated a lot of things to assist with my recovery, but unfortunately the ribs are a really difficult one to bounce back from.”

“I will be spending the weekend with the guys and girls at Freightliner Racing to cheer on Tim and Andre, and the whole team as much as I can.

“Plus, while I’ve got the chance I’d like to thank everyone who has sent through messages of support and well wishes. It’s been really awesome.”

The Vodafone Gold Coast 600 begins on Friday.

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