Cindric sympathetic of Ambrose's plight

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 26/06/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Penske Racing president Tim Cindric was not surprised Marcos Ambrose was uncomfortable in the DJR Team Penske FG X in Darwin, and did not seem concerned about the returning star's position ahead of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

Ambrose steered the Falcon for a handful of laps in two practice sessions on the Friday at Hidden Valley and admitted on the TV broadcast, "the stuff I've always done to drive a car fast doesn't seem to work in these".

Cindric - who flew in to Australia for the Hidden Valley round -said Ambrose's situation was not conducive to him feeling confident in the car, given he hasn't sat in the driver's seat at a race meeting since March.

"He's doing laps on 60km old tyres and he hasn't driven in a while. I wouldn't expect him to say anything different," Cindric told v8supercars.com.au.

"Look, I don't think anyone who has been out of the car that long is ever going to feel comfortable.

"Obviously when you put somebody in there with old tyres you don't know what the comfort level is going to be.

"The way the rules are right now, [with] the tyres we have to run it's going to be difficult for him to feel comfortable because he doesn't run a set of green tyres.

"[He's got] 60km old tyres to go out and run and he hasn't run since Melbourne - I don't see how you could expect him to do anything different.

"It's not really too conducive to making anybody feel comfortable."

While teams are allocated one set of green hard Dunlop tyres to run in Friday practice, DJR Team Penske believes it would not be productive to send Ambrose out on those greens, when lead driver Scott Pye needed to tune the car for the race meeting.

The Commission passed a new rule earlier this week adding practice sessions limited to 'additional drivers' meaning teams can exclusively run their co-drivers, using tyres from the Australian Grand Prix - which will mean more laps for Ambrose.

Cindric told v8supercars.com.au the team has made gains across the last two race meetings, with three consecutive top 10 results for Pye from Winton to Darwin.

Sunday's race was cruelled by the start with Pye dropping spots and ultimately finishing 16th, but nevertheless, Cindric believes there is a new confidence within DJR Team Penske that there is 'capability and potential'.

Even before Ambrose had gotten back in the V8 Supercar in Darwin, rivals - including the Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander - were naming DJR Team Penske as ones to watch come the enduro season, with the Pye-Ambrose line-up a formidable one.

Pye scored a top five finish with DJR and Ash Walsh at Sandown last year, and in his first full-time season finished in the top 10 at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, so he has shown promise in the enduro phase of the season in previous years.

Ambrose is yet to win at Mount Panorama and wants to add it to his list of achievements in V8 Supercars racing.

So the motivation is there - and while Cindric feels they may not be in the position to call themselves a 'big threat' yet, it's the sort of race you can win with speed and the right choices.

"I would hope we're a threat," Cindric said.

"Once we get to the enduros our goal has always been to run consistently in the top 10. That's been our goal, that continues to be a goal and if we can do that, at enduro time anyone who runs in the top 10 has a chance to win those races, the way they play out.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't think we had a chance.

"So we'll continue to get better. And we'll look at ways we can execute and get ourselves from broader gains to smaller as we go. Those are usually more difficult - once you get into the top 10, to get into the top five on a consistent basis, there's a step there.

"So the first step was to get ourselves so we can run in the top 10. I think the last two events we've been able to do that and at least have the pace."

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