Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi has retired from the World Touring Car Championship.
The 43-year-old Italian has raced a ROAL-run BMW since 2005 and taken four race wins. While he will not race in the WTCC again, he has not ruled out competing in a different series.
"I will not be back in the WTCC," Zanardi told AUTOSPORT. "It’s a shame, but when one door closes a bigger one may open. It can be cool to move when there are new challenges, but there aren’t any yet."
The two heaviest-hitting manufacturers in the WTCC – SEAT and BMW – have both stated they will scale back their operations for the 2010 season in light of the after-effects of the economic downturn. One would suspect that Alex was informed his services would no longer be required…
Zanardi won two CART titles in the late nineties and started 41 grands prix for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams between 1991 and 1999, but has raced touring cars since a huge Champ Car accident at Lausitz in 2001 left him requiring the use of prosthetic legs.
Zanardi said earlier this year that he would like to compete in wheelchair sports at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and having recently taken victory at the Venice Marathon, it would appear that one of F1’s ultimate Mr Nice Guys is on track to fulfil this aim.