Posted On Sunday, September 09, 2012 at 08:17:44 AM
Former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi claimed his second hand cycling gold medal of the London Paralympics on Friday at the Brands Hatch circuit where he once raced sports cars.
The 45-year-old Italian, who won the 16-kilometre time-trial gold on Wednesday, followed it up by taking the 64km race in a thrilling sprint finish.
Zanardi won the men’s individual H4 road race at the track in southeast England in a time of two hours and 32 seconds, one second ahead of South Africa’s Ernst Van Dyk and three seconds ahead of Belgian bronze medallist Wim Decleir and the rest of the pack.
Zanardi, a former F1 pilot for Minardi and Lotus who also drove in Indy and touring car races, was critically injured and had to have both legs amputated after a horror smash in 2001.
He battled back into sport, even competing in a touring car race at Brands Hatch in a specially-adapted car with hand controls, before turning his attention to hand-cycling. “To win this race in this way, in such a dramatic way and sprinting makes me really proud,” said Zanardi, who competes Saturday in the H1-4 team relay.
“It shows that I am a complete cyclist, even if I have no legs. “I just tried to save as much as I could during the race. I know I’m a good sprinter and just had to be confident in myself. And it worked. It’s been a tough race; I could have very well lost it.”