LMES - Spa-Francorchamps - Rollcentre – Healing Hands
Rollcentre Racing is always a team with a story to tell and in the last few seasons Martin Short’s outfit has had more stories to tell than most.

In practice on Friday the story was of a Dallara afflicted by a mystery porpoising problem, Martin Short only completing one timed lap (plus lots of in and out laps) in the first session. Barbosa’s efforts in the second session would be enough to suggest that form would be found on Saturday – and so it proved.

A much happier picture saw the times tumbling as the track began to dry out in the morning qualifying period: “We’ve got some new tyres from Dunlop and they seem to suit the car very well indeed,” said a bubbly Mr Short. Joao Barbosa then set a 2:07.781 for sixth on the grid in the dry afternoon session, although a “nearly” spin at the Bus Stop on his fastest lap cost Joao more than a second (which would have put the car fifth on the grid). The Dallara was fifth fastest in the race morning warm up. “I was cruising,” said Martin Short, so spirits are high for the race.

Perhaps the most notable thing about Saturday’s brief interview though was that it was conducted with the Deputy Editor face down on a treatment table, a painful pelvic injury having hobbled his paddock trotting escapades over the last 48 hours.

It was Rollcentre Racing to the rescue, as resident chiropractor Vicki Waller got to grips with the aches and twinges in a hugely impressive, albeit not entirely pain-free, (what a wuss – Ed) session of joint manipulation (God I feel old!) stretching and advice (don’t carry a wallet in a back pocket), in a successful attempt to get back the get up and go that had got up and gone.

Vicki has been with the team since Le Mans and is now very much part of the Rollcentre family, the driving squad all benefiting from her ministrations after the punishment dealt out by an LMP1 car at full tilt. A post-qualifying Joao Barbosa indeed was waiting patiently for Vicky to finish so that he too could take advantage of the healing hands.

Then it was a quick trip across the paddock to visit Vanessa’s, a very welcome addition to the hospitality crews on this side of the Atlantic, where the ever smiling first lady of the motorsport lunching scene was only too pleased to help out with an ice pack. “You must have some sort of radar, I’ve only just got back from doing a run to collect it – it’s not too easy to find ice in Belgium you know!” With lunchtime fast approaching, the Vitaphone, Larbre and Lister teams and guests were about to descend (together with several US based drivers who apparently prefer Vanessa’s hospitality to that laid on by their own team.)

Whilst a back injury isn’t to be recommended, it certainly provided yet another opportunity to experience the ever-helpful nature of a sportscar racing paddock. Thank you Vicky and Rollcentre, and of course Vanessa.

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