Alex Zanardi has walked away with a stunning victory at the final race of the 2016 Italian GT Championship on his debut weekend with the new BMW M6 GT3.
Zanardi, who recently claimed two gold medals and a silver at the Rio Paralympic Games, started Sunday’s race from second on the grid after a strong qualifying.
While the Italian dropped to third place during the opening lap, he managed to stay out longer than his competitors before taking his pit stop, allowing him to take the lead. After re-entering the track back in first place, Zanardi opened up his lead and secured an emotional win.
“There are no words to describe what I feel,” Zanardi said. “Today I saw the sun setting and it never looked that beautiful. What a year, not only what a day. Once more I enjoyed beautiful moments in Rio de Janeiro, and now just jumping into this beautiful car was amazing.
“I want to thank all the guys in Munich, who did an amazing effort in getting this beautiful BMW M6 GT3 ready for me with everything I needed, thanks to BMW Italia and to ROAL Motorsport for setting the car up and making it ready for me in a magnificent way,” he said.
Zanardi has raced with BMW on and off since 2004 when he returned full-time to motorsport after an horrific 2001 CART crash resulted in both his legs being amputated.