Επιστροφή στο Forum : Alessandro Zanardi returns to the cockpit with BMW Motorsport

BMW Power
21-01-14, 12:05
Alessandro Zanardi returns to the cockpit with BMW Motorsport – Starts for ROAL Motorsport in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series.



Munich (DE) 16th January 2014. BMW Works Driver Alessandro Zanardi (IT). This image is copyright free for editorial use © BMW ...

Munich (DE), 21st January 2014. The legend is back: Alessandro Zanardi (IT) will be back in the cockpit on a regular basis in 2014, and will once again do battle for BMW Motorsport out on the racetrack. Zanardi will race in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series behind the wheel of a BMW Z4 GT3, which has been specially modified to meet his unique requirements and will be run by the ROAL Motorsport team.
The 47-year-old lost both legs in a serious crash while racing in 2001, but overcame his disability to return to motorsport. Among other things, Zanardi drove for BMW in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), where he stood on the top step of the podium on four occasions. Having won two gold medals on his handbike at the 2012 Paralympics in London (GB) and completed a test in the BMW M3 DTM in the same year, he is now set to contest a full season for BMW for the first time since 2009.
“Alex is back! I cannot express how delighted I am that one of the greatest heroes in the history of BMW Motorsport is returning to the cockpit of one of our racing cars,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “From both a human and a sporting aspect, Alex is a role model to all of us. I am sure he will approach this new challenge in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series in the same manner we have become accustomed to from him. You can really sense just how much he has missed competing on four wheels. Modifying the BMW Z4 GT3 is a challenge for our engineers. However, we gained valuable experience in this regard when we modified the BMW M3 DTM in 2012, and that will come in very useful now. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing preventing Alex from making a successful comeback.”
Zanardi himself can hardly wait to return to the motorsport scene: “Even after leaving the sport in 2009, I was still a racing driver at heart,” he said. “When I took to the track in the BMW M3 DTM at the end of 2012, I immediately got itchy fingers again. Ever since that moment I have been toying with the idea of returning to motor racing. Together with BMW we have looked at various options. I am even more pleased that it has worked out with my old friends at ROAL Motorsport. I would like to say a big thank you to BMW for this unique opportunity.”
Zanardi raced for the team belonging to former BMW DTM champion Roberto Ravaglia (IT) in the FIA European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) when he made his first comeback in 2003. Back then, a BMW 320i was adapted to suit his special needs – Zanardi accelerates using his hand. The 1997 and 1998 ChampCar Champion raced successfully in the WTCC from 2005 on, claiming four victories at Oschersleben (DE), Istanbul (TR) and Brno (CZ, two wins). Zanardi and ROAL Motorsport went their separate ways – for a while – at the end of the 2009 season.
“Alex and I have gone through so much together in motorsport. Therefore, I obviously did not hesitate when the opportunity arose to send him back into action for ROAL Motorsport in 2014,” said Ravaglia. “The sprints in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series are tailor-made for Alex. We will do everything in our power to give him a strong car, with which he can reproduce the performances and success we have seen from him in the past.”
The 2014 Blancpain GT Series season features both endurance and sprint races. Zanardi will drive one of the two ROAL Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3s in six of the seven sprint races, which each last one hour.
2014 Blancpain GT Sprint Series calendar.
21st April 2014 Nogaro (FR)
18th May 2014 Brands Hatch (GB)
6th July 2014 Zandvoort (NL)
24th August 2014 Bratislava (SK)
5th September 2014 Portimão (PT)
19th October 2014 Zolder (BE)
2nd November 2014 Baku (AZ)

BMW Power
22-01-14, 14:10
Ο Alessandro Zanardi επιστρέφει στους αγώνες με την BMW Motorsport .



Munich (DE) 16th January 2014. BMW Works Driver Alessandro Zanardi (IT) on the BMW Z4. This image is copyright free for ...

Μόναχο. Ο θρύλος επιστρέφει: Ο Alessandro Zanardi (IT) επανέρχεται κανονικά στην ενεργό δράση το 2014 και για μία ακόμα φορά θα αγωνιστεί με τη BMW Motorsport. Ο Zanardi θα συμμετάσχει στο Πρωτάθλημα Blancpain GT Sprint στο τιμόνι μιας BMW Z4 GT3, που έχει εξελιχθεί σύμφωνα με τις ιδιαίτερες απαιτήσεις του, ενώ η ROAL Motorsport team ανέλαβε την ευθύνη του project.

Ο 47-χρονος έχασε και τα δύο πόδια του σε σοβαρό ατύχημα κατά τη διάρκεια αγώνα το 2001, αλλά ξεπέρασε την αναπηρία του και επιστρέφει στο μηχανοκίνητο αθλητισμό. Στην αγωνιστική του καριέρα ο Zanardi ήταν οδηγός της BMW στο Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα Αυτοκινήτων Τουρισμού της FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), όπου ανέβηκε στο πρώτο σκαλί του βάθρου τέσσερις φορές. Έχοντας κερδίσει δύο χρυσά μετάλλια στη χειροκίνητη ποδηλασία στους Παρολυμπιακούς του 2012 στο Λονδίνο (GB) και ολοκληρώσει μία δοκιμή με τη BMW M3 DTM την ίδια χρονιά, είναι τώρα έτοιμος να τρέξει με τη BMW μία πλήρη σεζόν για πρώτη φορά από το 2009.
«Ο Alex επέστρεψε! Δεν μπορώ να περιγράψω πόσο χαρούμενος νιώθω που ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους ήρωες στην ιστορία της BMW Motorsport επιστρέφει στο τιμόνι ενός αγωνιστικού αυτοκινήτου μας» δήλωσε ο Διευθυντής της BMW Motorsport, Jens Marquardt. «Τόσο σαν άνθρωπος όσο και σαν αθλητής, ο Alex ήταν ανέκαθεν πρότυπο για όλους μας. Είμαι σίγουρος ότι θα αντιμετωπίσει τη νέα πρόκληση του Πρωταθλήματος Blancpain GT Sprint με τον τρόπο που μας έχει συνηθίσει. Μπορείτε να καταλάβετε πόσο του έχουν λείψει οι αγώνες με τετράτροχα. Η μετατροπή της BMW Z4 GT3 ήταν μία πρόκληση για τους μηχανικούς μας. Ωστόσο η πολύτιμη εμπειρία που αποκτήσαμε όταν τροποποιήσαμε την BMW M3 DTM το 2012 θα αποδειχτεί χρήσιμη τώρα. Από όσο γνωρίζουμε, δεν υπάρχει κάτι που θα σταθεί εμπόδιο σε μία επιτυχημένη επιστροφή του Alex.»

Ο ίδιος ο Zanardi ανυπομονεί να επιστρέψει στην αγωνιστική σκηνή: «Παρά το ότι εγκατέλειψα το σπορ το 2009, δεν έπαψα ποτέ να νιώθω οδηγός αγώνων,» δήλωσε. «Όταν μπήκα στην πίστα με τη BMW M3 DTM στα τέλη του 2012, αμέσως ξύπνησε μέσα μου ξανά η ανησυχία. Από τότε άρχισα να σκέφτομαι την ιδέα της επιστροφής μου στο μηχανοκίνητο αθλητισμό. Μαζί με τη BMW εξετάσαμε διάφορες επιλογές.
Η χαρά μου είναι ακόμα μεγαλύτερη που επιστρέφω με τους παλιούς μου φίλους στη ROAL Motorsport. Θα ήθελα να πω ένα μεγάλο ευχαριστώ στην BMW γι’ αυτή τη μοναδική ευκαιρία.»
Ο Zanardi αγωνίστηκε για την ομάδα που ανήκει στον πρώην πρωταθλητή της BMW DTM, Roberto Ravaglia (IT) στο Ευρωπαϊκό Πρωτάθλημα Αυτοκινήτων Τουρισμού της FIA (ETCC) όταν επανήλθε για πρώτη φορά το 2003. Την εποχή εκείνη, μία BMW 320i είχε προσαρμοστεί ειδικά για τις ανάγκες του – ο Zanardi ελέγχει την ταχύτητα του αυτοκινήτου μέσω χειριστηρίων. Ο Πρωταθλητής του ChampCar 1997 και 1998 αγωνίστηκε με επιτυχία στο WTCC από το 2005, κατακτώντας τέσσερις νίκες σε Oschersleben (DE), Istanbul (TR) και Brno (CZ, δύο νίκες). Οι δρόμοι του Zanardi και της ROAL Motorsport χώρισαν – για λίγο – στο τέλος της σεζόν του 2009.

«Ο Alex και εγώ έχουμε γράψει ιστορία στο μηχανοκίνητο αθλητισμό. Επόμενο ήταν να μην διστάσω ούτε στιγμή όταν εμφανίστηκε η ευκαιρία που τον επαναφέρει στην αγωνιστική δράση με τη ROAL Motorsport το 2014,» δήλωσε ο Ravaglia. «Τα sprints στο Πρωτάθλημα Blancpain GT Sprint είναι στα μέτρα του Alex. Θα κάνουμε ό,τι περνάει από το χέρι μας για να του δώσουμε ένα ανταγωνιστικό αυτοκίνητο με το οποίο θα μπορέσει να αναπαραγάγει τις επιδόσεις και τις επιτυχίες που γνωρίζουμε από το παρελθόν.»
Η φετινή σεζόν του Πρωταθλήματος Blancpain GT περιλαμβάνει αγώνες αντοχής και sprint. Ο Zanardi θα οδηγήσει μία από τις δύο BMW Z4 GT3 της ROAL Motorsport σε έξι από τους επτά αγώνες sprint, με διάρκεια μιας ώρας ο καθένας.

Ημερολόγιο Πρωταθλήματος 2014 Blancpain GT Sprint .
21 Απριλίου 2014 Nogaro (FR)
18 Μαΐου 2014 Brands Hatch (GB)
6 Ιουλίου 2014 Zandvoort (NL)
24 Αυγούστου 2014 Bratislava (SK)
5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014 Portimão (PT)
19 Οκτωβρίου 2014 Zolder (BE)
2 Νοεμβρίου 2014 Baku (AZ)

BMW Power
29-01-14, 11:12
Zanardi is “very happy and excited”.
He has been waiting for this moment for a long time: At the “Adria Raceway” near Venice, Alessandro Zanardi completed a successful roll-out in the BMW Z4 GT3, with which he will compete in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. An interview with Alessandro Zanardi.


Alessandro, how was your roll-out with the BMW Z4 GT3?
Alessandro Zanardi: “I don’t want to sound too excited, but it was at least as good as I could have dreamt it would be. I am very grateful to Roberto Ravaglia and Aldo Preo of ROAL Motorsport, to Jens Marquardt and to all the people at BMW Motorsport who made this possible. I have a new car that is so nice to drive, I am working with a team of old friends and I am really, really proud to wear the BMW Motorsport colours as a works driver. The roll-out was a good start. For sure we need to further improve the modifications that were made for me. But we already know what changes we need to do. I also need to get a feeling with my “baby” and develop a relationship with it. But now it is only the end of January, we are already at the circuit, we will gain more and more experience and I am pretty confident we will be well prepared for the season.”
Why did you decide to return to the cockpit, and what are your goals for the 2014 season?
Zanardi: “What was driving me was a combination of passion and ambition. Of course, the passion has always been greater than my ambition. Otherwise I don’t think I would have got to where I am today. If you are only ambitious, this does not last very long. Of course I would be happier if down the road I can win a race. I would not be here otherwise. But overall I want to try to finish every weekend knowing that I have done with my team our best in order to achieve the best possible result. There are plenty of good drivers with strong cars and, with the personal problems I have, it would be illogical to believe that I can blow everybody away and win week in and week out. But we are going to try our best.”
Will the fans still see you racing your handbike?
Zanardi: “I can’t stop doing something that I love. Therefore I will carry on with handbikes. The motorsport calendar is well spread over the season and, therefore, it will leave me with plenty of time to do other things, one of which is certainly my activity as a hand cyclist. Of course, I have to accept that I have to make some compromises. But my aim is also to go to the games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In that season I probably will have to make a choice either one thing or the other, because you cannot prepare for the Olympic Games while you are also competing in motorsport. But 2016 is in two years’ time. Let’s focus on what we have now. What really matters is what I am doing right now, and right now I am very, very happy and excited.”

BMW Power
13-03-14, 11:20
Zanardi’s first meeting with his competitors.
With two intensive days of testing, BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi and ROAL Motorsport continued their preparations for the 2014 season. This week they took part in the official test days for the Blancpain GT Series at “Circuit Paul Ricard” at Le Castellet.

http://www.bmw-motorsport.com/dam/bmw/sportsmarketing/BMW_Motorsport/2014/News/03/Zanardi_Castellet_680.jpg.resource.1394645516075.j pg

The official test days offered the first opportunity for Zanardi to share the track with his competitors in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. In this championship the BMW works driver, who had both his legs amputated, will contest his comeback season with a specially modified BMW Z4 GT3 entered by ROAL Motorsport.
Conditions were good in the South of France, with mostly sunny weather and mild temperatures. The ROAL Motorsport team worked on further optimising the modifications made to the car for Zanardi’s needs. Among others, they worked on the mapping of the special clutch and on the special brake pedal. In addition, the squad used the two days to intensively work on setting up the BMW Z4 GT3, evaluating set-up solutions for qualifying as well as setting the car up for long race distances. In doing so, Zanardi completed successful long-runs on both days.
“Things are going well. But I have to say that for sure it won’t be easy”, Zanardi said. “I was expecting the challenge to be hard, but now I know that this, in fact, will be the case because in the Blancpain Sprint Series I am going to face an opposition of very fast and young drivers. Nevertheless I think we can be there and that we can do well, but for sure we still have to make improvements. In terms of the race pace we are already very close to where we are supposed to be. We are fast on worn tyres, but we still have to find a way to balance the car better with new tyres, in order to put together one good flying lap in qualifying. After this test we will look at all the data we have collected, and I am sure we will be able to learn a lot from what we did in the past two days.”
“For Alex, it was the first test together with the other cars from the series”, added Roberto Ravaglia, Team Principal of ROAL Motorsport. “So far, it is still quite difficult to make a comparison as everybody is running with different conditions. You don’t know who is on new tyres, who runs with low fuel and so on. So it is not easy to judge how competitive we are. But Alex is doing good lap times and I have a good feeling. Between the outings, we also made changes to the car similar to those you do during a race weekend. This helps Alex to learn how the car reacts to these changes, for example when you change the springs and so on, so he gets used to the differences. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the work we have done with him in these two days.”
Zanardi’s first race in the Blancpain Sprint Series is scheduled for the 21st April in Nogaro.

14-03-14, 15:12
για την θεληση του και μονο για μενα ειναι προταθλητης! τελος!

BMW Power
22-04-14, 13:25
Zanardi puts up a brave fight at Nogaro.
BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi has completed his debut weekend in the BMW Z4 GT3. Today’s main race was the highlight of the curtain raiser for the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series at Nogaro.

http://www.bmw-motorsport.com/dam/bmw/sportsmarketing/BMW_Motorsport/2014/News/04/Zanardi_Nogaro_1_670.jpg.resource.1398106418208.jp g

The 47-year-old put in a strong performance in this first main race of his comeback season. He was in the top ten for most of the race, despite the fact he could not change gears properly as there was an issue with the special clutch mechanism developed for him. He only dropped back on the final laps to finish 13th. After it had rained yesterday, conditions were dry today with even some sun.
In yesterday’s qualifying race, Zanardi qualified 14th on the grid for today’s main race in his BMW Z4 GT3 entered by ROAL Motorsport. The 47-year-old had a strong start and improved to tenth on the opening lap. When the field had sorted itself out after the mandatory pit stops, Zanardi was running in 11th but, with a great overtaking manoeuvre, he fought his way back into the top ten. Despite the fact that he was struggling with the clutch issue, he held tenth position until the closing stages of the race, but then dropped back to 13th.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: “It was great to see Alex back in race action. At his debut in the BMW Z4 GT3 he proved he is still a real racer. He can be satisfied with his performance. You should not forget that GT racing is something new for him, and that he is competing against strong and experienced rivals. A big ‘Thank You’ also to ROAL Motorsport, who did a great job in preparing the BMW Z4 GT3. The debut is over, now we are looking forward to many more great race weekends with Alex this season.”
Zanardi reported after the race: “I am taking a very philosophical view, because racing is racing and something like this can happen. But to loose points today when we could have scored some is a pity, because it was my debut and to come home with championship points would have been great. But in my heart I know we had a strong finish to the weekend, which did not start very well. In the race our BMW Z4 GT3 was probably better than many other cars, so this gives me hope for the next races. Unfortunately we had this problem, which has nothing to do with BMW, but it was the clutch which we installed for me. It compromised my race even in the first half. After the pit stop, I managed to somehow start without the clutch, but then the car became very difficult to drive and basically I was driving the whole third sector in fourth gear to avoid problems. At the hairpin I tried to shift down but nothing was happening, then all of a sudden the gears were there. But what can you do, this is racing. Now I am looking forward to the next round.”
Roberto Ravaglia, Team Principal of ROAL Motorsport, added: “I’m very satisfied with Alex’s performance. He could have been in the top ten, but unfortunately he had some issues with the special clutch installed in the car for him. Without that he could have scored the first championship points in the first race of the series. Now we are going to analyse the data to clearly understand what happened. His best lap time was quite good, as he was the eighth fastest driver on track. This shows how competitive Alex can be. Now we need to work in order to improve in qualifying and to let him start from a better position than this weekend’s 14th. I’m confident and I’m looking forward to the next race.”
Today’s main race was won by the driver pairing of Maximilian Buhk/Maximilian Götz. The best BMW pairing was Sergio Jimenez/Caca Bueno in the BMW Z4 GT3 of BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil, who finished fifth. Usually two drivers share each car, but the regulations allow handicapped drivers like Zanardi, who had both his legs amputated, or category Bronze drivers over the age of 30 to compete by themselves. The second round of the Blancpain Sprint Series will be held at Brands Hatch from 16th to 18th May.

BMW Power
12-05-14, 14:35
Zanardi announced as BMW Brand Ambassador.
Alessandro Zanardi has been appointed as a new BMW Brand Ambassador. In this role the BMW works driver will not only represent the brand by competing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, but also off the race-track.


For many years Zanardi has been part of the BMW family. Due to his personal history, the 47-year-old is a role-model for many. In 2001 the double ChampCar champion and former Formula One driver lost both legs in a serious racing accident. For Zanardi this did not mean the end of his sporting ambitions, but the starting point for a new career that led to a series of triumphs.
Only two years later, Zanardi returned to motorsport, competing in BMW racing cars specially modified for his needs. In the FIA World Touring Car Championship he celebrated four victories together with ROAL Motorsport. In total he contested more than 100 races in this series between 2005 and 2009. During his last WTCC season Zanardi started his second career in paracycling and made his big dream come true: to participate at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. This event turned out to be an overwhelming success for the race driver from Bologna, who won two gold medals and one silver medal. In 2014 he celebrates his comeback to motorsport: as a BMW works driver, Zanardi contests the Blancpain Sprint Series in a BMW Z4 GT3, entered by ROAL Motorsport.
“We are delighted to welcome Alessandro as a brand ambassador into our BMW family”, commented Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW. “For his fans all around the globe he is far more than a superb racing driver. With his fighting spirit and his positive attitude, Alessandro is a true role-model. He has shown that it is possible to overcome all adversities and barriers. He is a real champion on and off the race track – and therefore a perfect international ambassador for our brand.”
“I am very proud to become a BMW Brand Ambassador”, said Zanardi. “BMW is like a second family, and over the past years we not only enjoyed great times together at the track, but we have also become close friends. To return to racing as a BMW works driver this season is already great – and the fact that I will now represent this iconic company as an ambassador is just fantastic. The trust the BMW family puts in me means a lot to me. I am very much looking forward to representing this fantastic BMW brand all over the world from now on.”
As brand ambassador, Zanardi will be there personally to represent the brand at various events world-wide. In addition, he will take part in internal events with employees and management. His next race in the Blancpain Sprint Series will be held this weekend at Brands Hatch. This circuit in the English county of Kent is a very special venue for Zanardi: It was where he won his gold and silver medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

BMW Power
20-05-14, 10:47
Zanardi shines in his return to Brands Hatch.
BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi made a successful return to Brands Hatch, but this time in his BMW Z4 GT3 entered by ROAL Motorsport.


The scene of his handbike wins in the Paralympics witnessed him finish fifth overall in the circuit’s main race of the second round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. What made this result event more spectacular was that he had started from 17th after finishing the earlier qualifying race in this position. However, Zanardi did not only have to beat the other competitors, but also had to battle to keep himself cool, something made very difficult due to wearing prosthetic legs.
A jubilant but hot and tired Italian said: “Man it was tough. At least with the handbike I could breath. It was literally like a pan fire. At the beginning of the race it wasn’t that bad because I had my cooling stuff, which was working, but then 25 minutes into the race it was arrivederci, so I just had to fight in the car. It was one of the toughest things I have done on wheels, either three or four. But we can make it better because there is a bigger bag available for cooling. Even if the car goes up five kilos that will turn into bigger tenths for us if I can cool my body down. One funny thing about the result is I hate number 17. In Italy it is the unlucky number. I even like number 13, but I guess at 47 years of age it is about time to get rid of this type of superstition.”
The two hour-long races were held in perfect weather conditions and a start from sixth on the grid for the qualifying race gave the Italian hope for a good result. However, contact on the first lap and then a spin put paid to his hopes. As the pit stop window opened, which is from 25 to 35 minutes into the race, he was eighth and setting fast lap times. His stop went according to plan, however, on lap 22 a spin on the outside of Clark Curve not only saw him beached in the gravel, but also brought out the Safety Car. He made a couple of pit stops to deal with lose bodywork and eventually finished in 17th and four laps down.
His explanation of what happened in the qualifying race was: “I managed to stay out of trouble in turn one, but then in turn two I was on the outside and I think somebody hit the Ferrari and threw it up against me. It was a racing accident, typical first or second turn. I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other than that the car was still good and I was doing my race. The performance was there, especially when we corrected the tyre pressures at the pit stop. But unfortunately on that lap I was close behind the Lamborghini and I thought the corner was over, but I just understeered a little wider onto the marbles and it was just everything happened in the blink of an eye. Basically the car understeered over the marbles, I checked the throttle, lost the back and hell broke loose. You don’t get any points by being fast, you get points by finishing in the top ten.”
The honour of being the highest placed BMW car went to the BMW Z4 GT3 of BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil of Sergio Jimenez and Caca Bueno who finished third in both races. The two races were also both won by Hari Proczyk and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Usually two drivers share each car, but the regulations allow handicapped drivers like Zanardi, who had both his legs amputated, or category Bronze drivers over the age of 30 to compete by themselves.

BMW Power
19-06-14, 08:17
Zanardi is back in the BMW Z4 GT3.
BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi has continued his preparation for his next races in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. He got back into the cockpit of his BMW Z4 GT3 and completed two days of testing at the Slovakia Ring near Bratislava.


The 47-year-old celebrates his comeback to motorsport this year in a specially modified BMW Z4 GT3, entered by ROAL Motorsport. In August, the Slovakia Ring will host the next round of the Blancpain Sprint Series that Zanardi will contest. His goal is to build on his stunning performance at the last round in May at Brand Hatch, where he put in an impressive fight back in the main race, finishing fifth from 17th on the grid.
To be well prepared for the Slovakian race weekend, Zanardi and ROAL Motorsport conducted two days of testing at the Slovakia Ring this Tuesday and Wednesday. The BMW works driver took the opportunity to get acquainted with the circuit which he has never raced on before. With sunshine and temperatures up to 26 degrees Celsius, Zanardi and the team had ideal conditions to work on the set-up of the BMW Z4 GT3 and to find a good base for the race-weekend in August.
“Overall I am quite pleased with the outcome of this test,” Zanardi said. “The main objective was to understand what this circuit requires. The weather was similar to what we can expect when we race here in August. For sure it will be even hotter then, but we have learnt a lot about what we have to do with the set-up in order to save the tyres and make them last longer. So it was a very important test and I think at the race weekend we will benefit from having been running here. Also some other teams from the series were testing here, so this was good to have some reference points. I am pretty pleased with my lap times. This test was also very important, as we made some adjustments inside the cockpit to improve the ventilation so I will be cooler in the car. It was a significant improvement.”
“It was important for us to test at Slovakia Ring for two main reasons: The circuit is new for Alex, so it was a good opportunity for him to learn it, and he got some more track time in the long break between the races at Brands Hatch and Slovakia Ring,” added Roberto Ravaglia, Team Principal of ROAL Motorsport. “We are quite happy with the test. Over the two days Alex completed around 550 kilometres of testing. We did not work on big things, but focused on the smaller details in preparation of the race weekend. Alex’ lap times were pretty fast, though at a test lap times are not our main focus. The most important thing is that Alex is happy with the car.”
Before he gets back into action in his BMW Z4 GT3, Zanardi will compete in a race with his handbike. On 6th July, the two time Paralympic champion and BMW brand ambassador will take part in the “Maratona delle Dolomiti” in South Tyrol. This cycle marathon goes over eight passes in the Dolomites and 9.000 participants have registered to take part.


BMW Power
12-07-14, 19:16
Zanardi completes the Dolomites Marathon.
Alessandro Zanardi has taken on his next huge challenge and once again conquered it in style: The BMW Brand Ambassador lined up at the start of the iconic “Maratona Dles Dolomites” on his handbike, with which he won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.


For the 28th time, endurance athletes from all over the world took to their racing bikes and set off on the journey over some of the most picturesque, but also demanding passes in the Dolomites. Zanardi, who lost both legs in a racing crash in 2001, was one of almost 10,000 participants who started out from La Villa. From there, he scaled no fewer than eight passes in the Dolomites on his handbike over the course of the 138-kilometre route. Using nothing more than the strength in his arms, Zanardi climbed 4,190 metres on the longest of three possible routes, eventually rolling across the finish line in Corvara, exhausted but happy, in a time of 7:52 hours.
“It’s been an amazing day. Not so much what I did, but what I was part of. To be part of such an event is a once in a lifetime experience, something you have to mark in your calendar,” said Zanardi, who is making his motorsport comeback at the wheel of a BMW Z4 GT3 in the Blancpain Sprint Series this season. “It was very hard, but exactly what I had planned with my trainer Francesco. Last year I cycled the medium course, and, in spite of that, I was totally finished at the end. Now I am not super fresh, but I am relatively fresh compared to what I have done. It is beyond anything that has ever been done by a man with no legs. If you have the passion, a lot of things can be achieved. I want to thank my trainer. He is the one who very scientifically helped me to raise the level of my game and to use my resources which are certainly not unlimited. I also want to thank BMW for allowing me to skip the Zandvoort race and for giving me a fantastic car which I am looking forward to driving again in Slovakia. It was also great that our charity bimbingamba was so well exposed here. This is a project very dear to my heart.”
Following this personal triumph, Zanardi now has his sights set on achieving more success in the cockpit of his BMW Z4 GT3 over the remainder of the year. The next race weekend in the Blancpain Sprint Series, in which the BMW works driver competes in a car specially adapted to the Italian’s unique requirements, will take place on 23rd/24th August at the “Slovakia Ring” near the Slovakian capital Bratislava.

14-07-14, 08:42
Ευκαιριας δοθεισης να πω κατι ασχετο οσο και σχετικο.
Στον αντιστοιχο χωματινο αγωνα,νικητης ηταν ο Περικλης Ηλιας,ο καλυτερος "χωματινος" Ελληνας ποδηλατης,τρομερο αποτελεσμα για εναν απαιτητικο αγωνα!


Υ.Γ.Αν δεν κολλαει εδω,feel free to (re)move it!

BMW Power
28-07-14, 09:32
Zanardi wins the Para-Cycling World Cup.
Alessandro Zanardi once more successfully raced his handcycle: this weekend, the BMW Brand Ambassador and works driver claimed the overall win in the 2014 Para-Cycling World Cup, competing in the MH5 category.


In addition, he was victorious with the Italian para-cycling team by also winning the Team World Cup. The World Cup is organised by the world cycling federation UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), and the 2014 season’s finale was held in Spanish Segovia this weekend. In the MH5 category, three races were held: the time trial (22 kilometres) on Friday, the road race (60 kilometres) on Saturday and the team relay (4 x 1 kilometre) on Sunday.
In the time trial on Friday, Zanardi finished third on the podium behind winner Tim de Vries and second placed Stuart Tripp. In the road race on Saturday, the 47-year old Italian returned to winning ways. The final part of the 60 kilometre course was an 800 metre uphill section. Zanardi entered this final section lying in fourth, but, with a strong finish, he took the lead and managed to build a gap to his opponents, crossing the finish line with an advantage of eight seconds. In doing so, he not only claimed victory in this race but also secured the overall World Cup win.
To finish the successful weekend, Zanardi and his team-mates Vittorio Podestà and Luca Mazzone took victory in the team relay race on Sunday and celebrated the overall World Cup win in the team classification. The world cup final was the last para-cycling competition before the World Championship at the end of August, where Zanardi will try to defend his world titles in the time trial and in the road race.
“It was a good weekend and I am very happy to have won the World Cup”, Zanardi said. “I was not so satisfied with the time trial, I did not feel one hundred percent right. On other days I would have been very happy with a podium, but this time I was a bit disappointed. I was however happy for the other two guys because we all are friends. In the road race, I surprised myself because it was a very hard and closely fought race, so I did not expect to finish with an advantage of eight seconds. To then also win the Team World Cup with my team-mates was the perfect rounding-up of the weekend. Now, the next step will be the World Championship which will be very tough because we could see this weekend that the level is as high as it has ever been and that everybody is very competitive. I will now return home and continue with intensive training because if I want to keep my world titles, I have work to do, no doubt about that.”
The UCI Para-Cycling World Championship will be held from 28th August to 1st September in Greenville. The weekend before, Zanardi will return to the cockpit of his BMW Z4 GT3. From 22nd to 24th August, the BMW works driver will contest the fourth round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series at Slovakia Ring near Bratislava.

BMW Power
05-09-14, 15:21
Gold for the BMW Z4 GT3 of the world champion.
When Alessandro Zanardi arrived at the “Autodromo Internacional do Algarve” near Portimão today, BMW Motorsport and ROAL Motorsport welcomed him with a big surprise: a special golden livery for his BMW Z4 GT3.


With this present, they were referring to the successes Zanardi celebrated with his hand-bike last weekend at the 2014 UCI Paracycling World Championships at Greenville. The BMW works driver won two world-titles (time trial and team relay) and one silver medal (road-race).
The livery features a gold-coloured bonnet and roof, stylised pictures of Zanardi riding his hand-cycle on the doors and his medal winning times. The Italian will race his BMW Z4 GT3 with this livery this weekend (5th to 7th September), when he contests the fifth round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series at the Portimão circuit.
“I am really touched that all the boys and BMW Motorsport in Munich did this for me. I am speechless, which is definitely unusual for Alex Zanardi. I am so impressed because this is such a great gesture. Now I cannot wait to jump into my BMW Z4 GT3 tomorrow,” Zanardi said after the team had presented him the specially livered car, adding with a twinkle in his eye: “But it could be that I drive very carefully this weekend because I don’t want to damage this beautiful baby.”

BMW Power
08-09-14, 12:31
Zanardi puts in a strong performance at Portimão.
BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi put in a strong fight back in the main race of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Portimão. He finished ninth in his BMW Z4 GT3, being the best placed BMW driver.


With temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius, driving was a particularly exhausting task for Zanardi. This did not prevent him from impressing with a strong performance from 14th on the grid.
After a difficult qualifying race on Saturday, in which his car was damaged on the first lap, Zanardi was confident for this Sunday. He predicted that for the main race a stronger result would be possible with his BMW Z4 GT3 entered by ROAL Motorsport. Right from the start he was pushing forward and made up position after position. He also came safely through all the close fights in the early stages of the race, while several other drivers crashed. After the first quarter of the race he had improved to eighth.
After 25 minutes, he came in for his mandatory pit stop, with his crew doing an excellent job when changing his tyres. As a result, Zanardi further improved in the rankings: When all the cars had done their stops, he had climbed up to fifth. The second part of the race turned out to more difficult for Zanardi. The immense heat in the cockpit began ti make him struggle. In addition, he had problems braking with his prosthetic leg because of the extremely bumpy track surface. Due to this, he could not attack properly any longer in battles and dropped back to ninth.
“It was incredibly hard because of the heat. It was extremely hot in the car and physically it was one of the hardest races of my life, including para-cycling”, Zanardi stated after the race. “But I am relatively pleased with the result because I think we got the maximum that we could achieve. My main problem was braking on the very bumpy surface with my prosthetic leg. I had to brake very early and still I was going too deep into the corner. That was when the other cars overtook me in my second stint. Anyway, we can be satisfied. We came home with a decent result, we brought the car to the finish without a single scratch and we can go to Zolder confidently.”
The main race was won by Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Buhk. Zanardi was the best placed BMW driver, while the other four BMW Z4 GT3s in the field finished 13th to 16th. Portimão hosted the fifth round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. The next round will be held from 17th to 19th October in Zolder.

BMW Power
03-11-14, 16:12
«Ισχυρή η BMW Z4 GT3 αλλά άτυχη στο Baku», δήλωσε ο εργοστασιακός οδηγός της BMW Alessandro Zanardi.



Baku (AZ), 2nd November 2014. BMW Motorsport. Alessandro Zanardi (IT), BMW works driver, BMW Z4 GT3, ROAL Motorsport, 2014 ...

Μπακού. Όλα πήγαιναν κατ’ ευχήν για τον εργοστασιακό οδηγό της BMW Alessandro Zanardi (IT) προκειμένου να ολοκληρώσει το 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series σε μία καλή θέση. Στον τελικό της σεζόν στο Baku (AZ) ο κατατακτήριος και ο κύριος αγώνας πραγματοποιήθηκαν την Κυριακή 2 Νοεμβρίου. Η BMW Z4 GT3 του Zanardi λειτουργούσε άριστα στους στενούς δρόμους του σιρκουί πόλης και ο Ιταλός είχε μία έξυπνη στρατηγική για τον αγώνα. Αλλά η θεά τύχη δεν ήταν με το μέρος του, καθώς ο αγώνας του έληξε άδοξα από νωρίς όταν ένας άλλος αγωνιζόμενος τον έριξε σε τοίχο περίπου στη μέση του κατατακτήριου αγώνα.

Ο Zanardi ξεκίνησε τον κατατακτήριο αγώνα από τη 13η θέση. Σχέδιό του ήταν να αποφύγει τα όποια προβλήματα για να ανέβει και άλλο στην κατάταξη και να διασφαλίσει μία καλή θέση εκκίνησης στον κύριο αγώνα και ένα καλό αποτέλεσμα. Όλα πήγαιναν σύμφωνα με το σχέδιο τα πρώτα 30 λεπτά. Στον πρώτο γύρο έγιναν αρκετές συγκρούσεις με αποτέλεσμα να χρειαστεί η παρουσία του αυτοκινήτου ασφαλείας για μεγάλο διάστημα στην πίστα, αλλά ο Zanardi κατάφερε να βγει σώος και αβλαβής από την αναμπουμπούλα. Ανέβηκε στην 11η θέση και συνέχιζε να κινείται ανοδικά, αλλά μετά από περίπου 30 λεπτά ο αγώνας του διακόπηκε ξαφνικά. Η BMW Z4 GT3 του χτυπήθηκε με δύναμη από πίσω και κατέληξε σε τοίχο. Από τη σύγκρουση το αυτοκίνητο υπέστη σοβαρή ζημιά μπροστά. Όταν η ROAL Motorsport team, που κατεβάζει τη BMW Z4 GT3 του Zanardi επιθεώρησε τη ζημιά αναγκάστηκε να αποδεχτεί ότι δεν μπορούσε να επισκευαστεί για τον κύριο αγώνα.

«Ο αγώνας κυλούσε πολύ καλά, το αυτοκίνητο πήγαινε θαυμάσια και ήξερα ότι οδηγώντας μία BMW θα είχα το πλεονέκτημα προς το τέλος», ανέφερε ο Zanardi. «Φροντίδα μου ήταν να προστατεύσω το αυτοκίνητο και να κρατάω τη σωστή απόσταση από το προπορευόμενο όχημα καθώς και να διατηρώ τα λάστιχα και τα φρένα μου σε καλή κατάσταση. Έβλεπα ότι αρκετοί από τους μπροστινούς οδηγούς αντιμετώπιζαν προβλήματα με την πρόσφυση ή τα φρένα τους, πράγμα που εγώ δεν είχα. Γι αυτό περίμενα να μειωθούν οι επιδόσεις τους και μετά να ξεκινήσω επίθεση και να περάσω μπροστά».

«Τότε, το αυτοκίνητο που βρισκόταν μπροστά από εμένα αντιμετώπισε πρόβλημα και χρειάστηκε να προσπεράσω. Όταν περνούσα από πλάι του τη στιγμή που εκείνο έκανε στην άκρη, ο οδηγός που βρισκόταν πίσω μου δεν υπολόγισε σωστά το φρενάρισμά του με χτύπησε με φόρα, με έστειλε με δύναμη στον τοίχο και εκεί τελείωσαν όλα. Κρίμα. Η BMW Z4 GT3 μου λειτουργούσε θαυμάσια σήμερα και είναι πραγματικά λυπηρό για όλα τα παιδιά στην ROAL Motorsport και τη BMW που δούλεψαν τόσο σκληρά όλο το Σαββατοκύριακο. Πιστεύω ότι θα μπορούσαμε να έχουμε τερματίσει με πολύ καλό αποτέλεσμα αν είχαμε ολοκληρώσει τον αγώνα χωρίς ατυχίες».

Τόσο τον κατατακτήριο όσο και τον κύριο αγώνα κέρδισαν οι Cesar Ramos (BR) και Laurens Vanthoor (BE). Η BMW με τη καλύτερη θέση ήταν η BMW Z4 GT3 της BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil, με οδηγούς τους Ricardo και Rodrigo Sperafico (και οι δύο BR), που τερμάτισαν στη δέκατη και ένατη θέση αντίστοιχα.




BMW Power
18-03-15, 11:01
A new challenge: BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi to compete in the classic 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.



Munich (DE) 17th March 2015. BMW Motorsport, BMW Group Annual Accounts Press Conference, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt ...

A new challenge: BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi to compete in the classic 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

Munich (DE), 17th March 2015. In 2015, Alessandro Zanardi (IT) and BMW Motorsport will tackle a new exciting adventure together: The BMW works driver will compete in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the classic endurance race in the Ardennes mountains. This was announced in Munich (DE) today, on the eve of the 2015 BMW Group Annual Accounts Press Conference. The event in the Double Cone building at BMW Welt, which was attended by members of the board of BMW AG and about 150 invited representatives from the financial and economic media, saw BMW Brand Ambassador Zanardi present an insight into the projects he will be undertaking with BMW this year.

The 67th edition of the famous race at the “Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps”, with a long tradition dating back to 1924, will be held from 25th to 26th July 2015. It will be the first appearance in a 24-hour race for Zanardi, who had lost both of his legs in a severe accident in 2001. From 2003 to 2009 he successfully competed in the FIA European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) and the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC) with BMW Motorsport. After a break of four years he returned to racing in 2014 as a BMW works driver and competed in the Blancpain Sprint Series in a BMW Z4 GT3 modified to his special needs.

The participation in the top category of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, however, will mark a new challenge for Zanardi and BMW Motorsport: for the first time ever, Zanardi will share the cockpit with other, non-disabled drivers. The task for the technicians at BMW Motorsport was to find solutions to modify the BMW Z4 GT3 in a way that allows driver changes within a very short time. During the pit stops, the car must be adapted to the different needs of a driver with legs and a driver without legs as fast as possible. For this reason, BMW Motorsport is developing special components for accelerating, braking and changing gears. Zanardi’s team and team-mates will be announced at a later date.

“We are really excited to take on this great new adventure with Alex”, said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “In his 2014 comeback season with the modified BMW Z4 GT3 he once more demonstrated that everything is possible if you bring determination and technical know-how together. To participate together in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the next milestone in our long and close partnership. For sure, it is not an easy task to develop the modifications which are required when Alex shares the cockpit with other drivers. But is a great challenge for our engineers at BMW Motorsport which we face with a lot of enthusiasm. We can’t wait to see Alex lining up on the grid of this prestigious race in our BMW Z4 GT3.”

“To compete in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will definitely be the next highlight in my career”, commented Zanardi. “I have been dreaming of racing in an endurance classic like this for a long time, and it is great that Jens Marquardt and BMW Motorsport turn this dream into a reality. If you first look at it, it seems impossible that a guy with no legs like me lines up together with ‘normal’ drivers in such a highly competitive, tough and prestigious event. But I know that my friends at BMW Motorsport have all the technical expertise and innovative ideas to master this challenge. I really want to thank them for all their efforts and am looking forward to this new adventure of our BMW family.”

To prepare for the endurance race, the BMW works driver will participate in the Paul Ricard round of the Blancpain Endurance Series on 19th and 20th June in Le Castellet (FR) and will join the official test for the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on 24th June. Further race participations are planned but still have to be confirmed.

2015 will be another busy year for Zanardi, as the BMW Brand Ambassador again combines his activities as a racing driver and a para-athlete. He will take part in the Para-Cycling World Cup and only one week after racing in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, he will compete in the Para-Cycling World Championships, which are held in Nottwil in Switzerland from 28th July to 2nd August. Zanardi has so far won four world championship titles, two in 2013 and two in 2014. This year, he is aiming to continue his winning streak with his hand-bike.

In October, he wants to head to Hawaii (US) again and compete in the famous long-distance triathlon for the second time. Last year, he successfully debuted at this ultimate challenge in endurance sports. Zanardi completed the overall distance of 226.255 kilometres in a time of 9:47:14 hours. He was 272nd overall among the 2,187 athletes to reach the finish. In his age group M45-49 he finished 19th out of 247.

BMW Power
21-07-15, 13:46

BMW Power
19-09-16, 15:30
Gold for Zanardi in Rio.
Perfect start for Alessandro Zanardi to the Paralympic* para-cycling competitions at Rio de Janeiro: In Wednesday’s time trial, the 49-year old Italian raced to gold in the H5 category with his handbike.

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For Zanardi this is the third Paralympic gold medal of his career after winning twice gold and one silver medal at the London games in 2012.
The time trial saw athletes tackle two laps of a ten-kilometre course along the coastline of Pontal near Rio de Janeiro. Zanardi completed the distance of 20 kilometres in the fastest time of 28:36.81 minutes, securing gold in the first of the three races he is competing in in Rio. He had an advantage of 2.7 seconds over silver medallist Stuart Tripp. The bronze medal went to Oscar Sanchez.
“It has been a long journey, which basically started the day after the London games, when I decided that I would focus on a new horizon in my life and that this would be Rio,” Zanardi said. “You also need to know that the stadium and the facilities in Rio are built where they used to have the Indycar circuit. I have always been fast on that circuit, but never won a race. So deep inside I thought that this would be another opportunity to correct this and to finally do something in Rio de Janeiro. After the exciting years of preparation and coming here to a course that was not really my kind of course, it is just fantastic to finally enjoy the taste of gold once more.”
“I knew that the course in Pontal was, technically speaking, not in my favour, for many reasons. As such, my trainer and I made a detailed plan of how I should tackle the race and how to pace my effort, and I stuck rigidly to that plan,” Zanardi continued. “I have to admit that it was hard when I realised after the first lap that I was only third and almost 20 seconds behind Stuart Tripp, who was leading at that time. But nevertheless I kept cranking, following my plan, executing my project. And I really pulled off a miracle on my second lap: not only I did not slow down, but I actually managed to increase my average power and sprint towards the end. So to win a gold medal by just 2.7 seconds like this is even more tasty than otherwise. I am very, very happy. I am very grateful to all the people who helped me to be here and to enjoy this great achievement today.”
Next up for Zanardi is the road race tomorrow, Thursday 15th September. “This race will be a gamble,” he predicts. “I am pretty sure that all will be decided in a sprint towards the finish. We have a very tight hair-pin, actually a ‘u-turn’, only 200 metres before the finish. If I manage to come out of this final corner in a good position, I know that I have a very good sprint. So I have a great chance. But this is what everybody is thinking. So everybody will try to enter this corner ahead of the rest of the field. As such, there is even the possibility of an accident. It will be a thrilling race. I will do my best and the key will be to stay out of any trouble.”
The third and final competition will be the team relay with the Italian national team on Friday 16th September.
BMW is not a sponsor or partner of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

BMW Power
19-09-16, 15:31
Silver on a special day.
Second race at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games* and the second medal for Alessandro Zanardi: after winning gold in Wednesday’s time trial, the 49-year old secured silver in a thrilling road race in the handbike H5 category on Thursday.

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It was a special day, as on this date 15 years ago - 15th September 2001 - Zanardi lost both of his legs in a race accident at Germany’s Lausitzring. He often calls this day his “second birthday” as he survived this serious accident. Now, 15 years later, he has won a total of five Paralympic* medals (three gold and two silver) and eight world championship titles in para-cycling.
As Zanardi had predicted, the 60-kilometre road race in Pontal near Rio turned out to be a thriller, decided in a 200-metre sprint towards the finish. The leading group stayed close together over the whole distance until the athletes entered the finish straight after a tight hairpin. Zanardi exited the final corner in second position, and in the following sprint he battled an exciting duel with his rival and close friend Ernst van Dyk. In the end, he crossed the line just a few hundredths of a second shy of the South African, winning the silver medal. Zanardi’s first gesture after the race was to congratulate van Dyk by laying his arm on his friend’s shoulders just a few metres after the finish line. Bronze went to Jetze Plat, who crossed the line directly behind van Dyk and Zanardi. All three were classified with a race time of 1 hour, 37 minutes and 49 seconds.
“First of all I want to congratulate Ernst van Dyk for winning a great gold medal. He showed all his qualities as a sprinter, and today he was probably stronger than me. Nevertheless, to have won the silver medal is fantastic for me,” Zanardi said. “It was a difficult race. Let me explain: Sometimes you cannot control your emotions and yesterday, when I realised that I had won gold, I was very proud but psychologically I simply collapsed. All the pressure I had put myself under, but that I tried to ignore all the time, fell off my shoulders. So this morning I was not in the racing mood that normally pushes you, that makes you forget that you have less sleep and that helps that you don’t feel the pain in the muscles. So the day did not start in the way I was hoping. I felt empty in the beginning and it was a tiring race for me. But, despite this, I still managed to do a very good job – and I am very proud of it. To bring home my silver medal under these circumstances is a great and fantastic achievement. So I am happy.”
The third and final competition for Zanardi at Rio will be the team relay with the Italian national team tomorrow, Friday, 16th September. His mission: to bring home another gold medal.
“I feel that I am back in that racing mood,” Zanardi emphasised. “And now it is not only the motivation to do it for myself. Tomorrow, I am racing for my team and for my country. And I promise you: I will give it my best possible shot, and so I think we have a great chance to finish the race tomorrow with a big smile.”
The team relay will be held in the afternoon local time.
BMW is not a sponsor or partner of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

BMW Power
19-09-16, 15:31
Zanardi celebrates second Rio gold.
Alessandro Zanardi added another gold medal to his collection of para-cycling successes: On Friday, he won the handbike team-relay at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games* with the Italian national team.

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Zanardi and his team-mates, Vittorio Podesta and Luca Mazzone, took an early lead and after 32 minutes and 34 seconds Zanardi crossed the finish line – already celebrating in the final metres. He had a clear advantage of 47 seconds over the US team, who secured the silver medal, despite the fact that on his last lap he had to overcome an unexpected obstacle – a dog. Bronze went to Belgium.
For Zanardi, the team-relay marked a brilliant finish to successful days in Rio. Three races in three days, two gold medals and one silver medal: this is his haul. On Wednesday, the 49-year old won the time trial in the handbike H5 category, on Thursday he finished second in the road race in this category, and now he has triumphed with the national team in the team relay. In total, Zanardi has now won six Paralympic* medals: four gold and two silver.
“Today was the last day of my Brazilian Paralympic journey and to end it that way with my team, with my mates, was very special. Because sharing makes the joy even greater,” said Zanardi. “We had an amazing performance, all three of us, and we literally dominated the team relay, beating the United States with a big advantage. The race started really well with Vittorio pulling out a gap immediately and then Luca extended that gap even further. Then it was my turn, and I had so much will to do well with it being the last day of our journey. I did a very good performance and extended our advantage to over 40 seconds. But then on my final lap I encountered the biggest risk of our day: A big dog crossed the road just round a corner, which was quite blind. I did not hit the dog, but I had to slap it with one of my hands to get it out of the way. It was pretty funny because that would have been the only way we could have lost it, strong as we were.”
“To bring home another gold medal is very special and we are going to celebrate tonight,” Zanardi added. “We are very proud of our win and I am personally very proud of the two gold medals and the silver medal I am taking home. Because of this, I equalled the result I had four years ago in London. Being able to be in this position in spite of my age is something very special. I have to admit that I was a bit lucky to win the time trial by only two seconds. You can’t say that I was clearly better – but I was a bit luckier, and at my age that was quite an achievement. Looking back on the road race: in another situation I could have won it, but I have to say that maybe I was not completely the Zanardi I have been on other days. But I managed to finish second and to beat fantastic athletes, very determined and much younger than me. In the team relay we put together a very solid performance, as together as a team we were in a dominant form. To win another gold medal is the very best way to finish this exciting Brazilian adventure for the three of us. I am going home very happy and am really grateful to everyone who supported me on this journey.”
Zanardi is one of the most successful para-cyclists worldwide. In addition to his six Paralympic* medals he has also won eight world championship titles.
BMW is not a sponsor or partner of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

BMW Power
20-04-17, 13:51