Ex-Components One driver Alex Zanardi, who had each legs amputated in a motor racing accident virtually 20 years in the past earlier than happening to turn out to be a Paralympic champion, was in an “extraordinarily severe situation” in hospital on Friday after crashing right into a truck whereas competing in a handbike race in Italy. Zanardi was collaborating in one of many levels of the ‘Obiettivo tricolore’ relay race in Tuscany when he misplaced management of his bike on a hairpin bend and crossed into the trail of an oncoming truck close to Montalcino.
The 53-year-old was airlifted to hospital in close by Siena the place he underwent emergency surgical procedure for severe head and facial accidents earlier than being transferred to intensive care.
“As a result of severe head damage, the neurosurgery and maxillofacial intervention started shortly after 7 pm and ended shortly earlier than 10 pm,” the hospital mentioned in an announcement.
“The affected person was then transferred to intensive care. His situation may be very severe.”
Mario Valentini, coach of the Italian Paracycling nationwide crew, instructed Corriere Della Sera newspaper: “Alex misplaced management of the handbike, rolled over twice and collided with a trailer truck. The collision was horrible.”
Italy’s Zanardi was a former Grand Prix driver who twice received the CART championship in the USA earlier than having each his legs amputated following an accident on the Lausitzring observe in Germany in 2001.
He went on to win 4 gold medals on his handbike within the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Video games, and two silver medals, and ten world championship titles.
“I’m so anxious and frightened about Alex Zanardi that I am holding my breath. I’m his fan. I’m his good friend,” tweeted former world Components One champion Mario Andretti.
“Please do what I am doing and pray pray for this excellent man.”
Zanardi’s life modified perpetually on September 15, 2001 when he crashed at 320kmh at Lausitzring whereas collaborating in a CART race.
However what may have been the top of the sports activities profession for the previous Lotus and Williams Formula One driver from Bologna proved to be the beginning of one other.
Zanardi tailored to his prosthetic legs and was again competing within the closing race of the European Touring Automotive Championship at Monza in 2003 driving for BMW.
“Though the state of affairs was actually unhealthy on the time, I set myself the aim of main a traditional life once more at a while sooner or later,” Zanardi mentioned on the time.
“Immediately, I can stroll, I swim, I’m going snowboarding.”
Along with his Paralympic medals, Zanardi additionally competed within the gruelling Ironman triathlon in Hawaii in October 2014.
He had been on account of compete within the Paralympics in Tokyo this summer before they were postponed until next year.
His most up-to-date feat was final September when he achieved a brand new Paralympic triathlon world report time on the Ironman of Cervia, Italy of eight hours, 25 minutes and 30 seconds.
It was a report which he achieved just a few days after the conquest of two gold and a silver medal on the world championships in London.
“Alex is one among life’s really inspirational folks and as everyone knows, a fighter by way of and thru. Keep sturdy and Forza Alex,” his former Williams crew wrote on Twitter.
“Alex has already had his share of unhealthy luck, which he transcended with a mighty dedication and spirit to win once more,” mentioned former F1 driver Martin Brundle.
“Let’s hope he is wonderful and that is nowhere close to as severe because it sounds from stories.”
Zanardi raced for Jordan, Minardi and Lotus in Components 1 within the early 1990s earlier than switching to the CART championship in the USA the place he was sequence champion in 1997 and 1998.
He returned to F1 with Williams in 1999 earlier than heading again to the CART sequence.
Zanardi’s ardour remained motor racing and he had simply introduced he would drive a specially-adapted BMW within the closing endurance spherical of this yr’s Italian GT Championship at Monza in November.
“I am unable to wait to get again in a automotive,” he mentioned.
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