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NEX Legends thriller: Jason Loosemore takes early lead at Zwarkops

2019-02-06 08:58

Reynard Gelderblom

INEX Legends

Image: Reynard Gelderblom

Jason Loosemore took an early lead in the 2019 Liqui Moly INEX Legends championship season opener held at Zwartkops Raceway on Thursday, 31 January to Saturday, 2 February.

This round formed part of the annual Passion for Speed festival and saw Loosemore showing good pace throughout the weekend while he celebrated a race win and two further podium finishes.

Slicing through the field

The bumper-edition roster for the event necessitated an earlier start to the weekend with three of the practice sessions taking place on Thursday and a further two on Friday.

READ: Legends Championship announce exciting eleven-round calendar for 2019

Loosemore and Willie Erasmus traded the fastest times for the two recorded sessions. The draw for the Race 1 grid positions saw them both drawing near the back of the field, however; Loosemore starting in tenth position while Willie Erasmus had to settle for thirteenth position.

At the front of the field Johann van der Venter, Steven Levin and Ian Upton headed up the gird.

It, however, did not take Loosemore long to slice his way through the field during Friday’s Race 1. At the end of Lap 1, Sean Moore moved into the lead with Loosemore attempting to pass him around the first corner.

INEX Legends

                                                                      Image: Reynard Gelderblom

This developed into a rather entertaining battle through the early stages of the race with Justin Robertson also joining the action. As the race progressed, Loosemore continued to dominate at the front while creating a bit of breathing space between himself and the battle for second position.

Finding a way through

Fourth place runner Gerhard Roux meanwhile crept closer to this battle by the lap. Loosemore took the win with Moore in second place. Roux moved into third place during the closing stages with Justin and Jagger Robertson taking fourth and fifth places. Erasmus rounded off the top-six.

Saturday morning’s second race saw the field starting in an inverted order from Friday’s draw. This saw Justin Robertson passing Richard van Heerde early for the lead with Loosemore and Erasmus also finding their way through.

INEX Legends

                                                                     Image: Reynard Gelderblom

By the next lap, Jagger Robertson found himself in fourth position with this quartet treating the crowd to a cat-and-mouse battle at the front.

Justin Robertson took the win ahead of Loosemore, Erasmus and Jagger Robertson. Moore and Charl Roux picked off positions during the race to finish in fifth and sixth positions respectively. 

Race 3 saw an inverted starting order based on the points scored throughout the weekend. Morne du Toit found himself in pole position and holding a very short-lived lead; an incident on the opening lap saw him taking a detour through the infield which saw him relegated to the back of the pack.

INEX Legends

                                                                     Image: Reynard Gelderblom

Meanwhile, Jagger Robertson and Loosemore started slicing their way through the field with the duo heading up the pack at the end of Lap 2. Charl Roux slotted into third position, but with Robertson and Loosemore jostling for the lead he soon found himself within striking distance.

The race gradually built up towards an exciting climax. Roux passed Loosmore and had his sights set on Robertson’s lead through the final corner.

Taking top honours

Taking the inside line heading down to the chequered flag, it momentarily looked as if Roux had the better of Robertson, but the young driver quickly accelerated down the straight.

Crossing the line side-by-side, Robertson just managed to keep his nose in front to take his maiden race win by 0.008 of a second with Loosemore following the pair over the line to finish in third place. Erasmus, Justin Robertson and Gerhard Roux completed the top-six for Race 3.

INEX Legends

                                                                           Image: Reynard Gelderblom

His solid form throughout the weekend saw Loosemore taking the overall honours for the day ahead of Justin and Jagger Robertson. In the various class battles, it was Loosemore who took the Professional Class honours ahead of Erasmus and Chris Hoy.

The Masters Class battle proved to be a closely-contested affair with Robertson taking the honours ahead of Moore and Charl Roux. Jagger Robertson was the sole Semi-Professional driver competing in the event.

The action for the opening round delivered a good indication of the action that lies ahead in 2019. It is a short break ahead of Round 2 of the Liqui Moly INEX Legends championship which will take place at Red Star Raceway on the weekend of February 15 and 16.

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