The Malta Independent 22 September 2019, Sunday

Life time chance to meet the inspirational F1 driver Alex Zanardi

Thursday, 23 May 2019, 18:24 Last update: about 5 months ago

The inspirational two-time ChampCar champion and former Formula One driver, Alex Zanardo has accepted the invitation to address the first Avanza event entitled 'Unleash your potential' which will take place on Friday, 31st May, at the Radisson Golden Sands Hotel.

Guests will not only have the opportunity to listen to Zanardi's story following his serious car crash in 2001, which led to the start of a new successful stage in his life, but also have the opportunity to meet this phenomenal world champion in person. 

With his zest for life and his indefatigable ambition, Alessandro Zanardi is an inspiration for many. He has overcome ever challenge life has thrown at him and does not intend on stopping any time soon  

Alessandro Zanardi is a phenomenon. Just when one believes the Italian has achieved the maximum in a given discipline, he simply seeks another challenge - and promptly masters it with his unique level of enthusiasm. Since losing both legs in the accident on the Eurospeedway Lausitz in 2001, Zanardi has given new hope to many who have met the same fate. "I am out to prove that there are no obstacles for the disabled," Zanardi says.

Examples of his irrepressible spirit abound. Very few foresaw a comeback to motorsport after his accident. However, drawing on cast-iron determination and his enormous will to live, the Italian fought his way back. In 2003 he impressed the sport greatly by entering the final event of the European Touring Car Championship at Monza in a specially adapted BMW 320i.

These races in front of his home crowd whetted his appetite for more, and in 2004 Zanardi contested the entire ETCC season, going on to represent BMW Team Italy-Spain -in the World Touring Car Championship from 2005 to 2009. Merely competing, though, was simply not enough for the racer from Bologna. He targeted victories. And so on 28th August 2005, Zanardi sensationally became the first disabled person to win a world championship motor race at Oschersleben. He followed this success with another victory in Istanbul a year later. In 2009, Zanardi clinched his fourth race win in the World Touring Car Championship, in Brno.

Zanardi had become the first amputee to drive an F1 car as he rolled off the first laps in a BMW Sauber F1 Team Formula One car. It was no surprise, either, that Zanardi's lap times continuously fell as he increasingly badgered his engineers for information.

His immense ambition makes Zanardi a genuine anomaly - and his story transcends beyond the world of motor racing. He has also achieved star status in his second career of para-cycling, and is one of the best and most successful athletes in the world. Zanardi's greatest achievement so far came at the 2012 Paralympics in London, where he won two gold medals and one silver to emphatically make his mark on the handbike competitions. In 2016, Zanardi confirmed his star status at Paralympics in Rio winning two gold medals and one silver in handbike competitions.

In 2017 Zanardi won 3 gold medals at Para-cycling World Championship and completed the Ironman in Barcelona in less than 9 hrs. While in 2018 improved his record completing Ironman Cervia in less than 8hrs and a half and getting 1 bronze and a gold in the Para-cycling World Championship. He competed also in DTM Championship at Misano Race getting the 5th place.

The Avanza event kicks off with networking drinks and a meet and greet coordinated by Valarie Vella. This will be followed by a presentation entitled 'A Winning Mindset' by the Head of the Avanza Academy, Robert Vella. Following a mouth-watering starter and first course, renowned journalist George Micallef will interview Alex Zanardi, who will also answer questions from the audience.        

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