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Rice solid in 1st run for A1 Team USA
Buddy Rice completed an error-free 98 laps and was 10th fastest in the afternoon session in a solid debut performance for A1 TEAM USA in the A1GP open test Tuesday at Silverstone’s International Circuit.

“It wasn’t too bad for driving a car I don’t know,” Rice said. “It’s totally different and the way you drive it is a little different. It likes to be thrown around and there’s a fine line between being sideways and still going fast.”

Rice had a best lap of 1:11.445, an average speed of 114 mph, in the afternoon on the 2.249-mile, 10-turn course. It was less than one second behind the top lap of the session and the day of A1GP veteran Adrian Zaugg, who had a 1:10.484 for South Africa.

“I was pleased,” A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. “He did pretty well for his first time in the car. He was competitive and didn’t make any major mistakes. We got a lot of work done with the car.”

Rice had driven at Silverstone once before, 10 years ago in a Formula Vauxhall test. The experience didn’t provide him any help Tuesday in A1GP’s 550-horsepower Lola-Zytek.

“The early part of the morning was getting a feel for the car and a feel for the track,” Rice said. “We were also bedding in brakes and some stuff like that because it was the first time the car had run since last season. Once I got a feel for it, I tuned it into what I like.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive, something different. I’m definitely glad to have the opportunity to drive it.”

Rice, of Phoenix, Ariz., was 13th in the morning session at 1:11.627, 113,7 mph. He was 15th in the combined sessions.

A1 TEAM USA will complete the two-day test Wednesday with Rice and Jonathan Summerton sharing the car.

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