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Ruberti Returns After Back Injury

Paolo Ruberti returns to WEC paddock following back injury…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Almost two months after sustaining a fractured vertebrae in a massive testing accident at Hockenheim, Paolo Ruberti has fully recovered and will rejoin Larbre Competition this weekend at Nürburgring.

Despite the heavy impact and his back being affected, the 41-year-old Italian made a quick recovery after having been forced to sit on the sidelines at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I was doing some coaching when I crashed the car,” Ruberti told Sportscar365. “The brakes failed right at the end of the long back straight and I went head on into the barriers.

“Immediately I felt pain in my back, but I could still move everything. The day after I had surgery, to recover as quickly as possible.”

After being airlifted to a hospital in Mannheim, Germany, Ruberti managed to take his first steps just three days after surgery and returned home to Italy for rehab one week later.

“I was unlucky to crash, but also very lucky to be OK in the end,” he said.

His return behind the wheel of the No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R this weekend is not his first running since the accident, as he already tested a GT car in Italy two weeks ago.

While missing the biggest race of the year was a difficult pill to swallow, Ruberti kept his spirits up and remained involved in the race and with the team.

“It was hard to sit at home, but I communicated with the team all the team and followed it closely on TV and live timing,” he said.

Ruberti was also scheduled to take part in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rounds at Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with Dream Racing, but also was forced to opt out due to his recovery.

His Larbre co-drivers Pierre Ragues and Yutaka Yamagishi are currently third in the GTE-Am standings following Le Mans, but Ruberti feels there’s potential to move further up the order.

“The car has been good so far this season,” he said. “We did the fastest race lap here last year, so the Nürburgring should suit the car.

“Also, I wouldn’t mind some rain, the car is good on a wet track.

“We are in a good position in the championship and I’ll do my very best to help my team and co drivers move further up.”

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

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