One of the most competitive races of the season, featuring seven different leaders and fights for position throughout the field was marred by a major crash that severely injured Honda-powered driver Alex Zanardi. The two-time former series ...
One of the most competitive races of the season, featuring seven different leaders and fights for position throughout the field was marred by a major crash that severely injured Honda-powered driver Alex Zanardi.
The two-time former series champion was having his best race of the season, leading 20 laps and contending throughout, when he lost control of his Mo Nunn Racing machine after a pit stop, spinning into the path of Alex Tagliani. The 200 mph impact shattered Zanardi's car and sent both machines hard into the first turn wall.
Zanardi was airlifted to a Berlin hospital for treatment of extensive injuries to both legs. He is expected to undergo surgery later tonight. Tagliani also is being held overnight for observation, but is believed to have escaped serious injury.
The crash took place with just a dozen laps remaining, all of which were run behind the pace car. As a result, the leader at the time, Kenny Brack, went on to claim his fourth CART FedEx Championship Series win of the season, and moved back into the lead for the driver's championship by 11 points over Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran.
Michael Andretti finished fourth to continue his recent string of strong finishes, with Tony Kanaan, de Ferran and Paul Tracy also posting top-ten results today.
Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 4th, finished 4th: "The team did a great job with the strategy today. We were equal pace with the leaders, but I think some of those guys got a little better fuel mileage. It was a case of who could stay out the longest on a tank of fuel and I ended up with one more stop, but we finished in decent shape and gained some (championship) points. The EuroSpeedway was very nice to race on, they've done a great job with this facility, it's just first class."
Gil de Ferran (#1 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 1st, finished 8th: "Today was a tough day for us. The car wasn't handling very well, we really never found the right balance. We had understeer early in the race and then bottoming too much towards the end. But at the end of the day we have more important things to worry about, both with the crash today and everything in the U.S. earlier this week."
Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 11th, finished 10th: "It was a tough day out there with competitive racing all day long. We were on a strategy to finish the race on just three stops and that forced us to constantly save fuel. Every stint, I struggled early but the car improved a bunch once the tire pressures came up and the fuel level dropped. The pre-race ceremonies honoring the victims back in America were fantastic. Everyone involved needs to be commended for the wonderful job."
Helio Castroneves (#3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Started 3rd, finished 12th: "Turn two was my nightmare today. I had a lot of understeer there and that is where everybody was able to pass me. It's a shame that the race had to end under these circumstances. My thoughts and prayers are with Alex Zanardi and his family."
Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 5th, finished 25th (not running - mechanical): "We had a mechanical failure out there and it was best just to pull off. It's a shame because we were on a good strategy and were looking at a good result. The crowd was fantastic today and the racing was competitive. It was great to get back to racing (after the events in America this week). For me to get back in the car and do what I do best, and do what I can to memorialize the victims, that was my own way to say `I'm thinking of you."'