Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi captures handcycling gold
London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Despite losing his legs following a near-fatal Champ Car accident in 2001, former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi has been satisfying his appetite for racing and winning through handcycling.
The 45-year-old Italian scored the biggest win so far in his latest endeavor, capturing gold in the handcycling time trial event of the London Paralympics, beating Germany’s Nobert Mosandl by more than 27 seconds at Brands Hatch.
“This is a great accomplishment, one of the greatest of my life,” said Zanardi, who also has a fourth-place finish in the 2007 New York marathon as one of his biggest achievements. “I worked very hard to get here. It was great to live such an experience at 45. This moment also brings a little bit of sadness for an adventure the last two years.”
“When you are 20, you appreciate medals. When you are 40, you appreciate what you do every day. “I enjoyed every day of training. I’ve had a magical adventure and this is a fantastic conclusion,” Zanardi added.
In 1992, Zanardi began his racing career in the Italian Superturismo before switching to European Touring Car Championships, Formula One and returning to Champ Car World Series where he won two titles.
During a race the Lausitzring, Zanardi lost control and skidded into the path of Canadian driver Alex Tagliani, who slammed the side of the Italian’s car at more than 200mph.
After losing his legs, Zanardi returned to racing in 2008 to take third place in a specially adapted car as part of an Italian-Spanish team that finished third in the World Touring Car Championship before fully dedicating himself to handcycling.
Zanardi first made his mark in handcycling when he finished 15th in the 2009 World Championships time trial and his commitment bore fruit with a second-place finish at the 2011 Worlds.