alex zanardi: i thought the team was joking with me!

16:00    29 Aug 2018

Alex Zanardi
Guest driver Alex Zanardi thought his BMW team was joking with him when they informed that he finished fifth in the second DTM race at Misano last weekend.

The 51-year-old made a guest appearance in the touring car series in his hone country of Italy, driving an additional BMW entry.

The ex-Formula 1 racer and multiple handcycling champion used a specially-designed M4 DTM with adapted hand controls.

He qualified last for both races in Misano and finished 12th (out of 13) on Saturday, but took advantage of a weather-hit, eventful race on Sunday to claim an impressive fifth place.

In-race radio communication is banned in the DTM unless the car is in the pitlane, so when Zanardi was told of his result after the chequered flag he could not believe it.

“This is the best joke of the weekend,” he said. “Come on, you’re kidding me! I am an old man, you cannot tease me this way.”

Zanardi later added: “Fifth place is the payoff for the whole weekend.

“I am very happy with this result and at my age, I won't get too many more opportunities to celebrate racing successes like this.

“I had a very good racing speed and wasn't sure what to do when slower drivers kept appearing in front of me!

“Seriously, I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity by BMW. They always believed that I could do it.

“This trust is a great gift – and I am happy that I was able to vindicate that. Many thanks to the DTM family too, for welcoming me with open arms.

“I will always have a place in my heart for this weekend. It has taken me 51 years to experience it – but at least I got that chance.”

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