Giancarlo Fisichella returned to the cockpit of a Ferrari F1 car on Thursday, as the Scuderia wowed a huge crowd lining the streets of Jerusalem.
Doing 200 km/h in a 2009-spec F60, the Italian was the star of the first Jerusalem Peace Road Show, an event organised under the aegis of the Jerusalem City Council, and supported by Kaspersky Lab, one of Scuderia Ferrari's most important partners.
A crowd of 60,000 turned out to watch the former F1 race winner complete ten runs, split into the three parts, along a 2800-metre course, which ran through the hilly streets of the city. As well as hitting his impressive top speed, Fisichella delighted the crowd with some burn-outs and simulated race starts.
“It was really a fantastic and incredible feeling,” the Italian said as he stepped out of the car, “Driving in front of so many people in such a historic place was very exciting – as, indeed, was visiting the Old City this morning. It's been a truly memorable day for me.”
“It's a great honour for me to be here and to drive a Ferrari F1 car in what is such a historic motorsport event in Israel. Being behind the wheel of a technological jewel like the F60 in such a historic venue is an incredible combination.”
The event, which continues today [Friday], also saw other cars take to the course, including four Ferraris that normally take part in the Ferrari Challenge. They were driven, amongst others, by highly-rated Ferrari Driver Academy youngster, Antonio Fuoco, who had earlier joined Fisichella on his tour of old Jerusalem.
“I've seen some incredible sights, fascinating and full of history and I plan on coming back here with my family to visit the city in a more leisurely fashion,” Fisichella, who made a flying visit to promote the event earlier in the year, revealed, “We had a guide who happened to be from Rome like me, and he took us through the streets explaining everything we saw. I have often heard about Jerusalem and its holy sites, but to see them at first hand is a special feeling, which could not be repeated elsewhere.”
Ferrari was not the only F1 team represented in Israel, with another test driver, Rodolfo Gonzalez Rodolfo on hand to show off on behalf of Marussia. Former F1 pilot Tonio Liuzzi demosntrated both Audi DTM and Lotus LMP2 machinery, while Max Biaggi rode a Ducati along the same course. Israel's leading motorsport talent Roy Nissany, who currently competes in the European F3 Championship, was also present.