Willi Weber has given his backing to Michael Ammermuller following his quick, but controversial, A1 Grand Prix debut in Sepang, Malaysia.

Replacing Christian Vietoris for the weekend, Ammermuller delivered Germany their best result of the season with a third place finish in the sprint race.

However, that was achieved with a rather robust move on fellow A1 GP debutant Robert Wickens during the final lap of the race. Although unpunished, the pass was not a popular one down the paddock.

Similarly rapid in the feature race, Ammermuller was recovering from a poor start when he pulled a similar move on Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, only this time the clash resulted in a spin that lost both drivers a position and several seconds.

Ammermuller was punished for the indiscretion, a drive-thru penalty that ruined his chances of scoring any further points in the race. Even so, this was not before the former GP2 driver blotted his copybook for a third time when he turned around Czech Republic's Erik Janis in a similarly botched move.

Despite the criticism, which included Jarvis calling his move 'ridiculous', Weber was full of praise the newcomer, insisting the penalty was too harsh.

"I was very pleased with Michael Ammerm?ller's first race for our team here in Malaysia. He sat in our car for the first time on a race weekend after having tested just once for us nearly 15 months ago. Michael did a good job, which is confirmed by the first podium finish of the season.

"Unfortunately he lost any chance of another podium position in the main race following the Stewards' decision. I consider the commissioner's decision to be a little harsh since it was a typical racing incident. Michael Ammerm?ller has my complete and utter support. I'm delighted that he is a member of our team - and, furthermore, he will continue to be so."

Ammermuller himself was pleased wit his performance, despite the controversial moments, but did apologise to Jarvis for his 'optimistic' move.

"My first A1GP weekend was big fun, even though it didn't finish exactly as I'd hoped. The sprint race with the rolling-start began well even though I had to start from the dirty side of the track.

The battle with the Canadian team was okay. Light contact is all part of racing. Third place was a great result.

I made a mistake from the standing start in the main race and dropped back. I haven't driven a car with a foot-operated clutch pedal for two years; I'm only really familiar with hand clutches.

"I wanted to overtake the British car after my pit stop in Turn 1, but I was too optimistic and we both spun. I received a drive-through penalty as a result. Still, I enjoyed a good race weekend, the team works well and we could have brought home a top result without the mistake."



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