26 years ago: « The Pass », Zanardi’s exceptional overtaking at Laguna Seca

The 2022 IndyCar championship sees its conclusion in Laguna Seca (California), as it was already the case in 1996. This race entered the minds of American fans due to the anthology overtaking undertaken by Alessandro Zanardi in the final turn on Bryan Herta.

On September 8, 1996, Bryan Herta chased his first victory in CART (formerly IndyCar). The one who now manages the career of his son, Colton Herta, leads most of the race, thanks in part to a pilot error by Alessandro Zanardi.

The Italian comes back with great strides on his opponent until starting the final loop less than a second behind Bryan Herta. The rest is American motorsport history, with a maneuver dubbed “The Pass” in the Corkscrew, the overtaking. The one and only :

Twenty-six years later, this attack would have been immediately sanctioned with a penalty because Alessandro Zanardi passed well beyond the limits of the track! But at the time, the ecstasy is total on this attack coming from extremely far and Zanardi will be declared winner.

“Laguna Seca is a place where it is very difficult to overtake, unless you are a second faster than the driver in front of you.explained Alessandro Zanardi in 2019 on the sidelines of the 24 Hours of Daytona. I was waiting for an opportunity to present itself to me, for him to make a mistake, but he was driving perfectly, lap after lap. So, I started hatching my evil plan (laughter).

I was hoping that on the last lap Bryan would loosen up a bit after going into Turn 5, which is normally the last place where you could have a chance to pass someone. I was ready to dive, I swear to God! I must admit that the execution of the maneuver was slightly different from what I had thought possible. I thought I could keep my four wheels on the asphalt. I dove into the Corkscrew, I was very scared!

I was able to regain control of the car, after a brief moment when I was only a passenger in the single-seater, which was moving in all directions. The difference between being a hero or an idiot is very fine…”

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