NEVER GIVE UP!
I came back from Macau this morning and I have to say that's great to be home but. dudes I brought home a good memory from China!
I will skip ceremonies and the reasons why and how I was not fast as I would have liked in race one: I just tell you that while I was going to sadly finish an opaque race I heard a huge bang coming from underneath my car. I probably drove on a piece of metallic debris lost by another car (I think probably by Couto's car since he was in front of me) and the thing, in its crazy race, bounced under my BMW "wounding it fatally". The 'thing' that hit me instantly tore apart the radiator of the oil for the differential, together with all tubes, the rear brakes system and the differential box. Needless to say, my generous BMW 320si kept on running bravely till it could; but after bleeding to death it exhaled the last breath forcing me to stop in a small run off.
At the end of the race the breakdown truck took back the car to the pits just 20 minutes before the start of race two and, honestly, while stewards were unloading my car I was thinking about my inglorious conclusion of the season. I was sure, not even the usual valiance that for the Team's guys is almost routine would have been enough to revitalize my car: we needed a real miracle!
But "Lupo", "Lele", "Bicio","Gianfe" and the indefatigable "Zanella" throw themselves on and under the car without even thinking how desperate the effort was and everyone gave his best: to cut a long story short, they believed in the deed since the beginning. Someone was shouting to collegues the work times to be synchronized, and others like "Lupo" and "Zanella" were swearing from beneath the car due to the boiling hot oil dropping on their faces.
Lift up, unscrew, unblock: in less than 20 minutes they got my differential replaced and the conic pair, as well as the radiator and pipes, they got rear brakes working again, a new setup, filled my tank and they found also the time to clean my windscreen!
Before starting the engine to go to the start from the pits light I looked at "Lupo" (for those who didn't get that, this is the nickname of my car chief) who was fixing the anti-intrusion net on my window and I told him: "you made a miracle, I'd really like to pay you back with your own coin!"
He replied with his face striped with engine oil: "Don't get used to this, but in moments like this our challenge starts and when we win it's so cool. Well, it would be better if the effort was worth something but I reckon today is gonna be hard. For you, starting from the pitlane at Macau and recover is much more difficult than what we did!".
Well, the only thing that I could do is going for it.
I wasn't even the first at the "poor people's traffic light": Monteiro had some problems too and was in front of me in the pits. But Seat's driver for me was morally crucial: at the getaway I got his slipstream and, while he, with all the due caution needed by tyres not yet in temperature, was going through the 'Mandarin' corner partialling on the gas, I went flat out. I overtook him at the exit as if he were steady and I almost could read his thoughts when quite pliable let me go: 'Why on earth are you going that fast?!' he must have thought.
Well, I am happy that with 42 years well on my back this kind of silly things come still natural and the pleasure of an overtaking is still the same irresistible goal, no matter what position I am fighting for. I am happy that the theory of "never give up" still enlivens myself and thrills me the most in a race.
Certainly, I have been lucky, a lot of people got retired and particularly in the last lap the first three drivers sent each other out in an incredible way. Anyway, as my guys did when the breakdown truck gave them back my dying 320si, I went for it believing in the deed since the beginning and that's the only reason why I could exploit the burst of luck that came up later on, that luck that arrived when others already parked their cars estimating useless the effort.
The car was working fine, Pietro (my technician) interpreted well my comments getting right the setup change that finally allowed me to push as I wanted within insidious walls along the track and . all the rest is history. A lot of overtakings, retirements, being there when it counts. This is the essence of an un-hoped for result, a fifth place that moves the classification, that allows me to recover a position on the good Tom Coronel, but that takes us to the new season with a lot of confidence more.
Honestly, at the moment we do not know if BMW will "ferry" us throughout another WTCC season, nevertheless, working as if this was a fact, is the only way to adequately prepare the programme forth and we are doing right that.
This is not a way to take leave of you to go on holidays, not yet, but I would like to thank you for the affection with which you always followed me and wrote to me. I promise that I will be coming soon again to the "Back and forth".
By the way, for those of you having time and will. this Wednesday I will be on the telly at "Italia allo specchio", Rai 2, at around 14.40 (GMT +1).
-credit: alex zanardi