Gerhard Roux takes upper hand in Liqui Moly INEX Legends season opener

A win and two further podium results at Red Star Raceway earlier this month (February 13-14) saw Gerhard Roux taking the early 2020 Liqui Moly INEX Legends Championship lead. 

The weekend also saw both Josef Kotze and Lonika Maartens making their championship debut around the counterclockwise circuit layout. Both drivers had only one prior outing during the 2019 season. 

The draw for Saturday’s Race 1 grid was conducted on Friday afternoon. Johann van de Venter was not present on Friday but drew pole position by-proxy with Ian Upton joining him on the front row of the grid. Charl Roux and Jagger Robertson lined up behind him while Richard van Heerde and Maartens completed the top six. 

A gearshift issue on the opening lap of Race 1 saw Van de Venter dropping to the back of the field while Jagger Robertson took an early lead.

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Gerard Roux takes victory at the 2020 Liqui Moly INEX Legends Championship at Red Star Raceway. Image: Reynard Gelderblom

Lots of action

Charl Roux kept the pressure on him with the pair exchanging the lead during the middle part of the race with Upton in close pursuit. The latter made an unforced error on lap 5, running onto the grass and losing positions in the process. Starting the final lap, Robertson found himself in a strong position while Charl Roux had his hands full with seventh place starter GerhardRoux.

Drama struck for Robertson as he lost oil pressure and was forced to retire from the lead. Gerhard Roux passed Charl Roux for the lead and the win by a mere 0.144 of a second. After Van Heerde lost two positions off the line, he drove a well-controlled race to pick his way back through the field, and he completed the podium just behind them. Justin Robertson worked his way through from the second-last on the grid to finish in fourth place while further back, Maartens held of Upton to finish in fifth place. Van de Venter was the last of the finishers in seventh place. 

Before Race 2, a spare engine was fitted to Jagger Robertson’s car while Kotze changed to the spare car. This time out, it was Justin Robertson who started from pole position with the draw reversed. But after being forced to take the wider line through the opening series corners, he fell to seventh place in the order. Jagger Robertson soon found himself in the lead, which he held onto for the duration of the six-lap race to take his first win for 2020.

Keeping the position

Charl Roux made a superb start and occupied second place for a while, but on Lap 3, it was Gerhard Roux who took the position which he held onto until the end. Van Heerde had Upton in his mirrors throughout the race but completed the podium for the second time on the day with the pair passing Charl Roux on the final lap. Justin Robertson made up a place on Lap 2 to finish in sixth place with Maarten, Van de Venter, and Kotze completing the results. 

Race 3 saw the grid based on reverse order of the points scored on the day, but Jagger and Justin Robertson soon made it to the front of the field. While Justin completed the first lap as the leader, Jagger took the position on Lap 2 and held onto it to take his second win for the day. Justin, however, pursued him to the finish line to take his first podium for 2020.

Further back, Gerhard Roux and Richard van Heerde had a good tussle to determine who’d be the only driver to finish all three races on the podium; third place and the honours taken by Roux in the end. Charl Roux and Upton completed the top six while Kotze held off Van de Venter for seventh place. Maartens, who struggled with power issues throughout the day, retired on the penultimate lap. 

The day’s overall results based on championship points accumulated saw Gerhard Roux taking the win ahead of Jagger Robertson and Van Heerde. Roux also headed up the Masters Class with Van Heerde and Justin Robertson joining him on the podium. Jagger Robertson took the Professional Class victory with Maartens as runner-up while Kotze was the sole Semi-Professional Class participant. 

The second round of the 2020 Liqui Moly INEX Legends season will take place in support fo the national Extreme Festival at Zwartkops Raceway on March 13-14.