Have fun out there!

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/06/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Penske Racing President Tim Cindric has some simple instructions for Marcos Ambrose when he straps into the #17Falcon FG X next Friday morning in Darwin: Have fun out there!

But no matter how the two-time V8 Supercar champion performs, Cindric has also damped down expectation about Ambrose rushing back into the cockpit for a race.

"I think a lot of it will be dependent on how he feels after running a session. But I would control my enthusiasm about it being too soon," said Cindric, who will fly to the Darwin event from North America exploiting a rare break in both the NASCAR and Indycar calendars.

The Friday practice sessions of the SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin SuperSprint will be the first time Ambrose has driven at a V8 Supercar event since the Sunday race at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

The 2003-04 V8 Supercar champion returned to Australia this year after nine years in the USA, then sensationally sidelined himself, handing over driving duties in the DJR Team Penske #17 to Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Scott Pye.

The 25-year old has since contested the Tasmanian, Western Australian and Winton championship events as the team struggled to get a handle on its new racer.

A strong top 10 qualifying and race result in the Sunday race at Winton signalled progress was being made and Ambrose will have a drive in Darwin in the sessions open to enduro co-drivers.

"I just want him to go out and enjoy driving a race car again," Cindric told v8supercars.com.au.

"Really it's more taking the pressure off him rather than putting it on him. He puts enough pressure on himself, especially through this process.

"The fact that Marcos is going to get in the car in the firsts session is, I think, something a lot of people are looking forward to. It's been a long time coming, but I feel we are in place where he will be able to feel the car in a better way and gain some confidence in it."

Cindric revealed the team would have preferred to have had Ambrose practising at Winton.

"It's really almost a race behind where we would like to be," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"We would have liked to have started working on our enduro program earlier - regardless of which one (of Ambrose and Pye) you would look at as the primary driver.

"We should have had the other guy in at Winton, but we felt we had to give Scott and the guys as much continuity as we could because at that point the enduros were secondary to making progress through the rest of the season."

The opening round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, the Wilson Security 500, is the race in which Ambrose is guaranteed to make his competitive return to V8 Supercar racing. But whether he takes over from Pye any sooner in Townsville, Ipswich or at Sydney Motorsport Park is undecided.

"I think it is race by race as it's been," Cindric said. "I think a lot of it will be dependent on how he feels after running a session.

"But I would control my enthusiasm about it being too soon. But you never know. We have continued to leave our options open.

"But we have always wanted to make sure Scott gets the opportunity he deserves and builds on what we have and not make too quick of a decision because we have to get consistent results to go forward."

Cindric said questions about Ambrose's future as a full-time driver in the category were ones only the Tasmanian could answer, but he made his opinion clear.

"Marcos can still really drive a race car and is quite capable," Cindric asserted. "So I have a biased opinion in the situation, but I am not the one behind the wheel. I have every confidence he can get the job done."

Cindric said the team's Sunday result at Winton - the first time since Sunday at the Clipsal 500 with Ambrose driving - that the car had top 10 pace was promising. But continued good form was needed in Darwin.

"Winton certainly seemed that we made some progress, although that is just one result.

"We certainly want to build on that and show some consistency to run in the top half of the field. I think if we can do that we will feel like we have had some success and moved the program.

"I think we are there but we haven't shown that we are.

"Really now is the time for us to understand that we have a car that is capable, what we can do with it. Scott has done everything we have asked of him at this point, we just need to continue to gain his confidence."

The SKYCITY Triple Crown runs from June 19-21 - follow live on FOX SPORTS 506 across the three days and stay tuned to TEN and ONE for highlights.

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