CHAMPCAR/CART: Zanardi to Williams Now Offical

CART's Versatility A Key Element for Zanardi As He Seeks New Challenges (September 22, 1998) - The adaptability required to be a two-time champion in the FedEx Championship Series is the first thing Alex Zanardi pointed to when he talked about...

CART's Versatility A Key Element for Zanardi As He Seeks New Challenges

(September 22, 1998) - The adaptability required to be a two-time champion in the FedEx Championship Series is the first thing Alex Zanardi pointed to when he talked about leaving the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Tuesday.

Zanardi, who will join Williams Grand Prix on the Formula One circuit in 1999 in the first season of a three-year deal, was quick to credit the versatility of his Champ Car experience as the thing that has most helped him as he has won 14 times in 47 CART starts.

"You must be like a chameleon to win in CART," said Zanardi. "It's like winning the World Cup in skiing. You must be able to win the giant slalom, the slalom and the downhill to be a champion.

"It's the same in Champ Car racing. To win the PPG Cup, you must be able to win on many types of venues - road circuits, street circuits, small ovals and super speedways. That makes CART very challenging and very special and it has been a great opportunity for me.

"I've learned a lot from (teammate) Jimmy Vasser, too. He has helped me to learn that patience is something that can help you win races. That goes along with my desire to never give up. Whether I am racing for first place or 20th, it's important that I never give up. If there's one thing that I think I have done to pull the team along sometimes is not giving up."

Ganassi wished Zanardi well in his new endeavor and noted that his relationship with the Italian has been very special.

"Alex has great to deal with. He has a great sense of humor and has been unlike any other driver I have dealt with in my time as an owner," said Ganassi. "He is very passionate about the sport and that passion is apparent in his approach to racing. His relationship with the team, fans, sponsors and media is one that is very special and we certainly will miss him."

Zanardi said he is looking forward to the final three races of the season - at Houston, Australia and California Speedway - and his desire to win has not waned as he prepares for the end of his three-year CART career.

"I love to race and miss it very much when I am not in the car," said Zanardi. "There is no reason why we cannot win the final three races and we are doing everything we can to do that over the next few weeks.

"I have been very, very fortunate to have had the opportunity I did with Chip and Target and all the great people on the race team. I have everything I could want at Target Chip Ganassi Racing and I will miss the people there as well as all the fans who have supported me in CART. It's been a dream life for me and Daniela the past three years and it has prepared us well for our next challenge. Who knows what the future holds, though. Maybe, someday, I could decide to come back."

Ganassi said his search for a new driver to join Vasser, who recently signed a three-year agreement with the team, is progressing but he set no timetable for a decision.

The Champ Cars are off this coming Sunday but return to action with the Round 17 of 19 in the FedEx Championship Series on the streets of downtown Houston for the inaugural Texaco Grand Prix of Houston Oct. 2-4.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Alex Zanardi , Chip Ganassi
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing