Alex Zanardi at the LausitzringEnlarge Photo
Zanadi, who lost both lower legs in a tragic 2001 crash, took up hand cycling in 2003, the same year he began racing in the European Touring Car Championship for BMW. By 2005, Zanardi was competing in the World Touring Car Championship series for BMW, where he racked up four wins and six additional podium finishes in five seasons.
His Paralympic Games victory comes as no surprise to former BMW teammate Andy Priaulx, who remarked, “When it became clear he wanted to compete at the Paralympic Games, I knew straight away he would make it. Alex loves challenges like that, and regularly pulls off the impossible.”
To qualify for the Paralympic Games, Zanardi first needed to prove himself in World Cup competition. His success was almost a given, as Zanardi had previously taken home gold medals in hand cycling at the Venice, Rome City and New York marathons.
After beating road time trial runner-up Nobert Mosandi by an impressive 27.14 seconds at the 2012 Paralympic Games, Zanardi can now turn his attention to what comes next. He’s expressed interest in driving in the Indianapolis 500, and the DTM series was also mentioned as a possibility.
This much is clear, however: Zanardi is a competitor who can never be ruled out, no matter what he’s driving.