Black weekend for A1 Team Germany Willi Weber's A1 Team Germany experienced a weekend to forget at the seventh round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in South Africa. Following a run of promising practice sessions the team failed to live...
Black weekend for A1 Team Germany
Willi Weber's A1 Team Germany experienced a weekend to forget at the seventh round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in South Africa. Following a run of promising practice sessions the team failed to live up to its previous performance after qualifying in sixth and seventh positions for the two races. An unusually hard penalty in the form of disqualification in the sprint race and retirement through no fault of the team in the main race around the street circuit in Durban ended any chances for Michael Ammermüller in this decisive stage of the championship battle.
At the start of the sprint race Michael Ammermüller from Pocking lost one position in the barging on the opening lap. From the fourth lap onwards he fought with Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen for sixth place. Following a safety car period caused by Brazilian Bruno Junqueira's accident and the subsequent race restart, Ammermüller continued his attack. On the fourteenth lap the Dutch and German A1 GP race cars collided. After the race was stopped the stewards of the meeting declared the result from the positions held on the previous lap, but disqualified A1 Team Germany because of the incident.
In the feature race A1 Team Germany initially held seventh place. An accident between the Chinese and Portuguese teams on the first lap brought out the safety car. After the race was restarted on the fourth lap Michael Ammermüller became another victim of the event around the 3.28 kilometre street circuit. The Australian John Martin pushed the German A1 GP car into spin from behind and subsequently collided with the Irish car. The Indonesian Satrio Hermanto was unable to avoid the melee and rammed Michael Ammermüller car as was then hit himself by the Pakistani Adam Khan. A1 Team Germany left the circuit on the Indian Ocean without a point.
"I had to brake to a standstill after the barging at the start of the sprint race. Afterwards I was involved in an exciting dice with Jeroen Bleekemolen which unfortunately ended in a collision. We presented our data logging to the stewards and analysed the video data three times. The data indicated that I hadn't braked any later than normal. Jeroen left the door open, I took the chance and then we collided when he cut across my line. He escaped without a penalty and we were disqualified. In the main race I managed four laps before the Australian John Martin pushed me into a spin. We have to wait for all the remaining decisions from this race day before we can make a final assessment about this controversial weekend."
"We were forced to swallow several bitter pills during this seventh race weekend. We return from South Africa without a single point, and lose touch in the table as a result. It was impossible to develop a rhythm in either of the races because the hairpin was the cause of so many incidents. After the accident between Michael Ammermüller and the Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen we were cooperative and presented all the data. We think that it is clear to see that neither party is guilty. Afterwards we received the maximum penalty and were disqualified. After just a few laps in the main race our car was pushed into a spin by the Australian John Martin. We are still waiting for the final report and decision from the stewards, but it would certainly be dubious if the penalty for two similar accidents were completely different. We are still awaiting a final judgement from both races. The one thing that is clear is that our chances of defending the title have sunk drastically."
14 to 16 March 2008, Mexico City (Mexico)