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Wednesday, September 19
Tagliani haunted by accident
Associated Press

Alex Tagliani
ROCKINGHAM, England -- In the split-second before Alex Tagliani's car crashed into Alex Zanardi's car in Saturday's American 500, the Canadian tried several evasive actions.

"I decided to go low as he (Zanardi) went on track and -- bang," Tagliani said. "The data show that I turned really hard to the left and locked the brakes when I saw that I would not be able to do anything else."

Tagliani collided with the Reynard Honda at 200 mph, a frightening crash that cost the 34-year-old Zanardi both of his legs and almost his life.

Tagliani was hospitalized for a day in the same Berlin hospital where Zanardi remained in serious but stable condition Wednesday.

Since being released Sunday, Tagliani can't get Zanardi off his mind.

"The toughest part is during the day, there's not five minutes that go by that I don't start thinking about him," Tagliani said.

Tagliani will drive Saturday in the Rockingham 500. It will be CART's second race in Europe after last Saturday's debut near Dresden, Germany.

"I brush my teeth, I think about him. In the shower, I think about him. I don't think about the crash -- I think about the guy.

"Nothing will take Alex out of my head, probably forever."

Tagliani came away from the crash with only a sore back, and said getting back into the car Saturday will be the easy part.

"As soon as I jump in the car -- when I start running - my head will be thinking about so many things, about setup, technical things," he said. "I will be concentrating on driving. I will be happy, I will be fine."

Tagliani said he was consoled at the Berlin trauma clinic by Zanardi's wife, Daniela, who assured him he wasn't responsible for the accident.

He also described how Daniela sent a letter to Tagliani's mother, Gabriella, in Montreal.

"She was really nice with me," Tagliani said. "She didn't want to see me with the feelings, the responsibility of guilt. She sent my mom a letter to help. When I was talking to my mom after the accident, I was crying and didn't feel right."

Max Papis of Team Rahal, second in the American Memorial 500 won by teammate Kenny Brack, said he and other drivers were content with car safety.

"It's really difficult to make everything safe, 100 percent," he said. "I don't think even a tank would have not broken with the impact that happened."

Tagliani said only one thing would keep him from thinking about the crash: seeing Zanardi walk again with artificial legs.

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Crashing hault
Alex Tagliani speaks publicly for the first time after his crash with Alex Zanardi.
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Zanardi crashes
Alex Zanardi and Alex Tagliani are involved in a devastating collision.
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Zanardi crash
ESPN's John Kernan talks about the career of Alex Zanardi.
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On the scene
ESPN's Parker Johnstone discusses Alex Zanardi's condition.
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