Former Formula 1 driver and two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi has been involved a serious road accident during a training session in Italy.
The accident reportedly took place on a public road in Pienza, Italy, during a handcycling event when Zanardi crossed over into the opposite lane, rolled twice before impacting a truck which was travelling at speed.
The ANSA news agency reports the 53-year-old was driven by ambulance to an opening where he was then air-lifted to a local hospital in Siena. His condition remains unknown.
Speaking to Italy’s Corriere della Sera, coach of the Italian Paracycling National Team, Mario Valentini, described the incident as “terrible”.
“We were in curves, on a not too difficult descent. Alex lost control of the handbike, rolled over twice and impacted a trailer truck.
“The collision was terrible. The paramedics recovered it: it was very serious. The helicopter was unable to land so the ambulance took him to a nearby pitch where the pilot of the aircraft managed to get off and transport it to Siena. It was terrible.”
Zanardi underwent a double leg amputation in 2001 after a CART accident, but just two years later returned to action, competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The Italian went on to compete in the Summer Paralympics’s in the handcycling competition, winning gold at the 2012 London Paralympics in the individual H4 time trial and the individual H4 road race, followed by a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.
On Friday Zanardi announced plans to compete in the Italian GT Championship’s season finale at Monza in November, sharing a modified BMW M6 GT3 with Stefano Comandini and Marius Zug.
Update: Zanardi is undergoing surgery for a serious head injury