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Zanardi prepares for Paralympics

ESPN Staff
August 18, 2012
Alex Zanardi won the New York Marathon's handcycling class in 2011 © Getty Images
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Former Lotus and Williams driver Alex Zanardi is preparing to race in the Paralympic games in London.

Having competed in 41 grands prix, Zanardi lost both of his legs in 2001 after a major accident in an IndyCar race at the Lausitzring. Though he made a return to racing, Zanardi's also taken to handcycling and even won the New York Marathon's handcycling class in 2011.

Now Zanardi will represent Italy in the handcycling this summer - which takes place at Brands Hatch - and he told the Brands Hatch website that he was hoping to maintain the success in his new pursuit.

"The course couldn't be better, it's fantastic," Zanardi said. "The last part is the most difficult because in terms of personal pleasure and doing things right it is probably not the easiest area but when you reach the penultimate climb going to the hairpin (Druids) you are already very tired but you know that if you are more or less close enough in terms of time to your opponents, this is the area where you are either going to win or lose the race. You've got to be really able to make the difference in the last two climbs.

"Knowing the circuit better than anybody else I thought I would know where to negotiate braking points, where to slow down and take the right lines but in reality the course is so wide that you never even cuddle the brakes other than the first corner that goes onto the outside section, but I really enjoyed it, it is fantastic.

"Technically speaking I think it really suits my best talents but you've got to be powerful, you've got to be able to resist the distance of the time trial mainly but you also have to be smart because there are some areas where if you just keep pushing you're not going to reach the line in the best way. I think I've done it 95% right in the simulation I've done today but everything is perfectible so I will try to sort it out with my trainer and come back stronger in September.

"You always have to come up with something that you always doubt whether you have it or not until the last minute and then that's why you're so happy when you cross the line in front of everybody else. Luckily for me it is something that I experienced in my racing career as a driver and hopefully it is something that I will experience here in September."

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