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Alessandro Zanardi took gold in the men's individual time trial H4 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Alessandro Zanardi took gold in the men's individual time trial H4 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Former F1 racer Zanardi a champion again on track

Former CART champion and Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi proves fast again by taking the gold in the men's individual H4 time trial, and Britain's Sarah Britain's Storey adds to her medal collection.

BRANDS HATCH, ENGLAND // The former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi won again at a motor racing circuit on Wednesday by taking Paralympic gold in the men's individual H4 (hand-cycle) time trial.

The 45-year-old Italian's time of 24 minutes, 50.22 seconds over the 16km course was good enough to clinch victory from Norbert Mosandl of Germany, who finished 27 seconds behind, and the US rider Oscar Sanchez, who was 45 seconds back.

Zanardi, a former F1 driver for Minardi and Lotus, and a double champion in the North American open-wheel series formerly known as Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), was critically injured at a CART race in Germany and had to have both legs amputated after a crash in 2001.

He battled back into sport, even competing in a touring car race at Brands Hatch in a specially-adapted car with hand controls before turning his attention to hand-cycling. Last year, he won the category at the New York Marathon.

His average speed yesterday 38.652 kilometres (24.017 miles) per hour - was considerably less than his previous best at the fabled circuit in the county of Kent, south-east England.

But it was one of the highlights of a day that saw Britain's Sarah Storey clinch her third gold medal of the Games, taking the Paralympic women's individual C5 time trial title after double success on the track.

The 34-year-old rider won the C5 individual 3km pursuit in the Velodrome last week to open the host nation's gold account then followed up with victory in the C4/5 500m time trial.

She said the hard work she has put in for the road events has paid off, as she again pushed Poland's Anna Harkowska into silver, just as she did on the track.

"I spent so much time on the road this year," she told reporters. "

The road is where all my preparation has been done, so I needed to nail this one."

Storey's victory came after Olympic success for Britain's cyclists, notably for the country's first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who took the men's time trial on the streets around Hampton Court Palace, west of London.

The win boosted her overall Paralympic gold medal collection to 10.

Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand, won five at swimming before switching to cycling before Beijing in 2008.

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