Atlas F1 News Service

Zanardi Runs First CART Test Since F1 Leave

Sunday July 9th, 2000

Without a ride since his 1999 Formula One season at Williams, Alex Zanardi is playing himself back into ChampCars. The two-time CART champion is participating in a two-day test at Sebring, USA, for Mo Nunn Racing and after the first day Zanardi says it's good to be back behind the wheel.

"I'm doing really well. I'm also suddenly having a lot of fun," said Zanardi. "The passion hasn't gone. It's nice to find such a nice car to come back to after a period of vacation. I call it a vacation because it was my decision not to engage myself in any other thing after the Williams period. So, it's really good to be back."

At the end of the first day of driving, Zanardi said it was still too early to tell how things will shake out. "I'm amazed although the circuit today is really green and we haven't gotten to the point yet where I can say I have personalized the car. The way it is set up, I'm surprised by how much grip this car has in the corners compared to a Formula One car with those grooved tires. This is a car you can play with. Maybe I went over the line already ... I spun three times. I have no reason in the world that I should be pushing over the limit, but how else can you explain that I spun three times already other than that I'm having fun.

"Do I sound like I'm having the time of my life? I'll need to win another race, another championship, before I can say that for sure. But, certainly, I'm doing today what I've loved to do in so many years of my career. To have a break as long as I did, and to come back to a good car to drive, with big friends all around me, is fun. I have the time to chat with them, have some fun."

Zanardi placed no significance to the fact that his old team (Chip Ganassi Racing) would be in Sebring during the test. "Sebring is quite representative of what you find on your (CART) calendar," said Zanardi. "A little bit of everything. This is a good place to test and to get back into a race car for me.

"Physically, I've been doing things at home, but never enough. The best thing to do in this business is to drive the car. I'm quite surprised that I'm feeling in great shape. Obviously, to do a race would be much different than testing. But I'm doing really well."



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