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Formula One

Thursday, December 11

Schumacher races against Air Force jet
Associated Press

GROSSETO, Italy -- In a race between a Ferrari and a fighter jet, score one out of three for Michael Schumacher.

Formula One champion's Ferrari F2003-GA was a nose faster than pilot Maurizio Cheli's Eurofighter Typhoon in the first race of 600 meters. The plane then easily won at 1,200 and 900 meters in the drag race at a military airport.

"It was an interesting experience," Schumacher said, adding there was a lot less pressure than facing Formula One rival Juan Pablo Montoya.

Cheli did not gloat over winning the last two races.

"Everyone is a prince or king in their own environment," the pilot said.

Tuscany's Baccarini airport featured vintage cars and planes and a military band to entertain thousands of spectators. Six fighter jets flew in close formation and the event was shown live on Italian state TV.

Cheli's jet and the Ferrari lined up on parallel runways and went full throttle when the green signal came, mixing the deep sound of a jet turbine with a high-pitched Formula One engine. After covering the required distance, the jet went airborne and then landed following each race.

Schumacher won the first race in 9.4 seconds, with the jet 0.2 seconds behind. The jet won at 1,200 meters in 14.2 seconds, with the Ferrari 2.5 seconds back. In the final race of 900 meters, the jet finished in 13.0 seconds, with the Ferrari 0.2 seconds behind.

The Eurofighter's top speed when airborne is listed at 1,521 mph; the Ferrari's limit is 229 mph.

Thursday's event was organized by the Italian defense department and hailed as a demonstration of Italian industry.

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