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Zanardi wins class in New York Marathon

ESPNF1 Staff
November 10, 2011
Alex Zanardi celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Handcycle class of the New York Marathon © Getty Images

Former Formula One driver and two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi has won the Handcycle class of the New York Marathon.

The former Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams driver lost both his legs in an horrific CART accident at Lausitzring in 2001, but went on to compete in the World Touring Car Championship form 2005-2009 using a specially-designed car. Since 2007 though he has attempted to win the New York Marathon in a handcycle, and on Sunday achieved his goal by beating Rafal Wilk by just two seconds.

Speaking of his win, Zanardi said: "Things went well for me instead and I am really happy for the result, for triumphing in a country that gave me a lot and that did not forget what I have done in the past at a sportive level, judging from how many times my name was shouted from people along the course: this really warms my heart."

The New York Marathon is no longer Zanardi's overall aim though, as he is targeting Paralympic gold at the London Paralympics in 2012. Mark Webber paid tribute to his achievement in his latest BBC column.

"What an achievement that is," Webber said. "Only Alex knows what it has been like to go through what he has, but I would imagine he has got at least as much satisfaction out of what he has been able to achieve in this new chapter of his life as he did behind the wheel of a racing car.

"Being a professional racing driver and getting to the top is incredibly tough, but to have this enormous hurdle put in front of him and still have all his competitive instincts and drive intact is brilliant."

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