A1 Grand Prix's Team Germany was left disappointed at the conclusion of the third round of the championship in Estoril, Portugal after a promising run from debuting driver Adrian Sutil ended after an ill-advised lunge from Holland's Jos Verstappen.

Sutil made a cautious A1GP debut in Sunday's 18-lap sprint race on the former home of the Portuguese Grand Prix, finishing twelfth with a car he was not entirely happy with.

During the break between races, the Willi Weber fronted team made a couple of changes, which transformed the car and left Sutil in a fighting mood for the start of the 36-lap feature race.

A combination of a clean getaway and a swift early pit stop elevated Sutil to fifth when the safety car was deployed on lap 12 to retrieve the stranded cars of Team Mexico and Team Indonesia. That fifth became fourth on the restart as Sutil passed Team USA's Scott Speed but half a lap later Sutil's race was over as an over ambitious lunge from Holland's Jos Verstappen ended with the Dutch car vaulting over the top of the German entry, ripping the rear wing off and ending Sutil's day.

"It was a day of mixed emotions," said Sutil, as the German team failed to score a point for the first time in three A1GP weekends to date. "I am really upbeat about the race which was very encouraging before we had to retire. On the other hand, I am really gutted about the accident. We made a slight change to the set-up before the feature race and it paid off. The team performed a really good stop and I was able to fight for top positions on new tyres.

"At Estoril, I really gelled with the car on my first full weekend as A1 Team Germany's nominated driver. That's why I'm looking forward to the next races already."

Germany's team manager Willi Weber was happy with Sutil's performance but disappointed at the team's failure to score, a situation that leaves the team a lowly 14th in the nations standings.

"A1 Team Germany showed a strong performance and was able to challenge for a podium position, but the team was deprived of a strong result in an avoidable accident," said Weber. "The team has done a very good job and I was impressed by Adrian's talent and his determination to fight. I hope we will be rewarded next time for the upward trend of the whole team."

 

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