Race car driver Alex Zanardi is aiming for a place on the Italian cycling team at the 2012 Paralympics to be hosted in London.
42-year-old Zanardi intermittently drove for the Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams teams between 1991 and 1999. Racing in Germany during a Champ
Car event in 2001, the Italian was heavily struck coming out of the pit lane and tragically lost both legs above the knees.
At the wheel of specially-adapted European and World Touring Car Championship cars, Zanardi returned to racing two years after the accident, taking a first win in 2005. Three years ago the BMW Sauber team invited him for a test aboard a single-seater modified with accelerator and brake controls fitted to the steering wheel.
Parallel to his WTCC career, Zanardi has developed an interest in three-wheeled hand cycling. He took fourth place on his debut in the sport at the 2007 edition of the New York City Marathon.
He set the 15th best time at last week's Para Cycling Road World Championship individual time trials presented in Italy, conceding only four and a half seconds to the event's winner, 2008 Beijing Paralympic gold and bronze medalist Oz Sanchez of the United States.
"I spent a lot of my spare time training and getting more than encouraging results," Zanardi explained on his website recently.
"My honest objective is to be at the level of the best Italian bikers and to finish in the top half of the classification, waiting for a dream that could come true in London in 2012," he wrote.