CHAMPCAR/CART: Zanardi completes the 2001 Lausitz race

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CHAMPCAR/CART: Zanardi completes the 2001 Lausitz race

The second stop of the CART's European swing took place today in Germany, the fifth round of the Champ Car World Series. The event marked the return of the two-time CART champion, Alex Zanardi. Press conference: Alex Zanardi. Photo...

The second stop of the CART's European swing took place today in Germany, the fifth round of the Champ Car World Series. The event marked the return of the two-time CART champion, Alex Zanardi.

Press conference: Alex Zanardi.
Photo by CART/LAT Photographic.
It also marked the first return of the series to the EuroSpeedway Lausitz since the inaugural German 500 held in September 2001, the race that Zanardi never completed due to a life-threatening accident, he lost both legs in the crash.

The courageous, popular and remarkable Zanardi, along with the help of his family and friends has made considerable and amazing progress since the accident.

Zanardi was the 1997 and 1998 Champ Car champion, before a stint in Formula One. He then returned to the CART series in 2001 to race for his longtime friend, Mo Nunn.

Zanardi did not just return as the 2003 German 500 Grand Marshall, he returned today to the delight of the crowd to finish the 13 laps remaining from the 2001 race. CART Chief Steward Chris Kniefel re-licensed Zanardi as an official driver for the series to enable him to finish the race.

Alex Zanardi.
Photo by CART/LAT Photographic.
Zanardi then stepped into a specially designed and engineered modified 2003 Champ Car, painted to match the No. 66 Mo Nunn Racing machine that Zanardi drove in 2001.

The crowds cheered as Zanardi got into the cockpit to start the Champ Car and finish the 2001 race distance. The engineers had fitted the car to allow Zanardi to control the clutch with his right hand and the throttle was fitted with hand controls as well. Most remarkable is Zanardi used the brake with the remaining part of his right leg.

His best lap was 37.487 seconds, which would have placed him fifth on the starting lineup for this year's race.

The still popular Italian added a special touch, thanking the crowd in german and added a special word to the command to start your engines.

""Dankesch?n f?r alles." and "Friends, start your engines."

Alex Zanardi return to Lausitz press conference

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Series INDYCAR