PAULA Walker says the new bobsleigh season will be her most important one yet as she aims to lay the foundations for Olympic qualification next year.

The Trowbridge-based 26-year-old, who was world junior champion in 2011, will pilot the Great Britain women’s GB1 two-man crew again this season, in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Walker, who is an Army corporal but trains full-time at Team Bath, is cautiously optimistic ahead of the new World Cup series, which gets underway at Lake Placid, USA, on November 5.

“It’s going to be the most important season in terms of making sure everything’s ready for the Olympics season,” said Walker, who lives in Paxcroft Mead with partner and men’s GB1 pilot John Jackson.

“I’ve got the same brakewoman as last year in Gillian Cook but I’ve also got Kelly Denyer now.

“We’re trying to get her ready for going into the Olympic season and hopefully give Gill a bit of a run for her money.

“They’re going to be competing for each race and whoever’s the fastest, you’ll see at the World Cup.

“There’s a lot of expectance on this year in terms of the way that we need results to platform into 2014.

“Physically we’re the best we can be and equipment wise, we’re getting there but it’s always going to be hot and cold with that.

“We’re going out there with some slightly different equipment and it’s little intrinsic stuff that, to be honest, I don’t even understand but we’ll see if it works at the World Cup.”

Walker, who has been based in Wiltshire for 10 years, added: “I’ve been looking forward to Sochi since 2007 and I guess I’ll have more a feeling after this World Cup series.

“Last season was highs and lows – I had some pretty awful results and some pretty good ones too, so we’ll see how it goes.

“It’s just a case of how many other nations are on their upward curve too but we’re pretty confident.”