Skaife: Ambrose will be back

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/03/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Five-time Champion and hall of famer Mark Skaife believes fans will definitely see Marcos Ambrose back behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar, despite his decision to step down ahead of the next round in Tasmania.

Skaife suggested the pressures of heading to his home race would have contributed to his long-time rival's decision, but believes once his team DJR Team Penske has a handle on the car, Ambrose will return to the helm of the #17 Falcon.

"Absolutely, he'll be back in a car," Skaife told FOX SPORTS news.

"When he gets back in a car, who knows - what you'll find is when he sees the glimmer of the car getting better and the push to get the car better, when he sees that, that's when he'll see the push to get back on board. In the meantime, we have to be patient."

Skaife explained it would be difficult for Ambrose to assess his performance and the new FG X Falcon at this stage, and having the team's endurance driver, former full-timer Scott Pye stand in would help the team move forward with the V8 Supercar.

"With a one car team, it's very hard to judge where you are in reality," Skaife said.

"Young Scott Pye, a really good young performer, is going to take Marcos' spot this weekend in Tasmania, but what's also going to happen is that Marcos is going to sit around and he's going to contemplate the next time he gets back in our cars. Because you need to make sure when he does get in, that the car's competitive and he can show off his prowess."

While the former NASCAR driver was the quickest qualifying Ford at the Clipsal 500 and exceeded expectations at the street track, his performance at the weekend's Australian Grand Prix was marred by several crashes, after starting all races buried back in the pack.

"We know it's been a very tough assignment, it's a very tough gig this sport, very competitive. He's been away from the sport 10 years and to come back at this stage and have the expectation Marcos would've had - one of the best drivers ever - it must be very, very hard," Skaife told FOX SPORTS News.

"I think the pressure coming into his home race probably has the ultimate amount of pressure," he added.

Skaife believed that racing at the back at the field, and being caught up in a number of incidents would've led Ambrose to think about the situation.

"He would never do anything in a negative way to hurt the sport. He loves the sport, he's an ambassador of the sport, he's done a great job in the States for Australians, to be as competitive as he was [in NASCAR].

"As I said, a two-time champion, one of the best drivers of all-time, so he wouldn't do anything that was going to denigrate the sport or his performance with the team.

"However, I think the pressure in the background and coming to a home event - and the other thing that happens with our sport is it is so close.

"In Tasmania we will have probably 25 cars within seven or eight-tenths of a second. He was within 0.25 of a second in qualifying at Clipsal - that will be 15 or 16 positions in Tasmania.

"So if you play that out Marcos can probably push the fast forward button and say, 'I'm probably not quite at the pointy end, I don't think I'm going as should as I should be going'."

There isn't just expectation on Ambrose, because of his previous results in the category, but on his DJR Team Penske crew to perform. The team carries the names of two motoring legends, one in our sport and one on a global level.

"I'm sure Roger and Marcos would've spoken," Skaife said, referring to motorsport mogul Roger Penske, who elected to take the plunge into V8 Supercars for the 2015 season.

"Roger has got a great understanding of motor sport and the motor industry. He's a man that's operated the best teams around the world for a long time, in all sorts of racing.

"So I think it would've been a really serious discussion, a really frank discussion, and something giving Marcos time now.

"I think for fans we should be a little patient, sit back and say, here's one of the greats, not going as well as he would've liked, the pressure of his performance level is very high lets sit back and wait until he gets back in again."

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