Alessandro Zanardi Finishes 13th in Season Opening Race after Tough Race

Alessandro Zanardi and his BMW Z4 GT3 1 photo
Photo: BMW
It wasn’t easy for out BMW works driver hero, Alessandro Zanardi, during his first race of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series at Nogaro. After keeping up with the top 10 drivers during most of the race, Alex had to settle for 13th place in the end, due to some clutch malfunctions.
After starting off from the 14th spot on the grid, Zanardi managed to fight his way up to 10th place immediately after the first mandatory pitstop. However, throughout the entire race, he couldn’t change gears properly, his clutch malfunctioning due to a problem related to the special mechanism developed for him. Even so, the 47-year-old proved to be a more than strong competitor, dropping back only in the final stages of the race.

“It was great to see Alex back in race action. At his debut in the BMW Z4 GT3 he proved he is still a real racer. He can be satisfied with his performance. You should not forget that GT racing is something new for him, and that he is competing against strong and experienced rivals. A big ‘Thank You’ also to ROAL Motorsport, who did a great job in preparing the BMW Z4 GT3. The debut is over, now we are looking forward to many more great race weekends with Alex this season,” said BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt.

“I am taking a very philosophical view, because racing is racing and something like this can happen. But to loose points today when we could have scored some is a pity, because it was my debut and to come home with championship points would have been great. But in my heart I know we had a strong finish to the weekend, which did not start very well,” said Alessandro after the race.

“In the race our BMW Z4 GT3 was probably better than many other cars, so this gives me hope for the next races. Unfortunately we had this problem, which has nothing to do with BMW, but it was the clutch which we installed for me. It compromised my race even in the first half. After the pit stop, I managed to somehow start without the clutch, but then the car became very difficult to drive and basically I was driving the whole third sector in fourth gear to avoid problems. At the hairpin I tried to shift down but nothing was happening, then all of a sudden the gears were there. But what can you do, this is racing. Now I am looking forward to the next round,” he added.

The winning team was the Maximilian Buhk/Maximilian Gotz pair while BMW’s best result was managed by Sergio Jimenez and Caca Bueno in their BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil GT3 Z4 car. Usually two drivers share each car, but the regulations allow handicapped drivers like Zanardi, who had both his legs amputated, or category Bronze drivers over the age of 30 to compete by themselves.
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