"The difficulties are still the same," said Alex Zanardi last weekend in answer to the question how his first win of 2006 compared to his breakthrough World Touring Car victory last year. "It's not like my legs have grown back!"
It was one of half a dozen golden quotes from a true living legend. Zanardi was always a special man and a very fine racing driver. But since September 2001, when he lost his legs in a horrifying Champ Car accident, he has transcended any levels of human spirit that could be described as normal.
To rebuild his life on artificial limbs, to refuse to give up on the sport he knew and loved, to remain the funny, charming, decent guy he had always been - he's just an inspiration.
His victory at Istanbul Park on Sunday in the latest round of the WTCC was the high point of a fascinating weekend. This was the first time I had been called upon to report on a round of the series and I had been looking forward to it. Zanardi's win in race one helped the experience live up to expectations.