Alex Zanardi gave the ROAL Motorsport-run BMW Team Italy Spain squad reason to cheer in the final rounds of the World Touring Car Championship with fine run to fifth place in the final race of the year in Macau.
The former F1 racer qualified in 14th place for the opening race of the weekend at the Chinese enclave, but then hit debris on the track during lap seven of race one and was forced to retire after hitting the barriers.
Despite the damage sustained to his car, the team was able to get Zanardi out for race two – albeit from the pitlane – and he rewarded them with a fine run through the field to take the flag in fifth place.
“It's very nice to conclude the season with this unexpected success,” he said. “I dedicate these four points to my team. The guys put in a tremendous effort between the two races to give me the chance to take part in race two. Congratulations to Yvan Muller, he is a worthy champion.”
For team-mate Felix Porteiro however, the season finale turned out to be a disappointment after brake issues in race one restricted him to 14th place having looked good for a points finish.
The Spaniard was then unable to start race two, after an electrical issue forced him to stop on the formation lap before the finale got underway.
“I'm really disappointed by this end to the season,” he said. “In race one I even had the chance to bag an eighth-place finish. But then persistent brake problems caused me to have an accident, and I lost several positions. On the formation lap of the second race, my car simply stalled due to a problem with the electronics.”