Antonie Marx took a seventh-place finish following wise qualifying strategy and solid race performance. Picture: Reynard Gelderblom

Marx with every reason to be confident after defying odds at season opener

It was a character-building weekend for in the 2019 season opener which took place at on March 8-9.

Antonie Marx took a seventh-place finish following wise qualifying strategy and solid race performance. Picture: Reynard Gelderblom
Antonie Marx took a seventh-place finish following wise qualifying strategy and solid race performance. Picture: Reynard Gelderblom

While mechanical problems on the played a huge part of his race weekend, he delivered a clear indication of the race pace that can be expected from him during the remainder of the 2019 season.

Marx’s practice time on Friday afternoon was limited to two sectors of his out-lap during the second session. First the left and later the right front wheel hubs provided problems on the car which had extensive repair work done during the three weeks prior to the event.

“We are definitely still getting to know all the mechanics of the car,” said Marx. “Most of Friday was spent on repairs where after we reverted to a known setup from our 2018 outing at Zwartkops. Despite not making use of any available track time, we’ve certainly ended the day with a better understanding of the car.”

The Gauteng autumn brought with it an overnight shower which resulted in most of Friday’s laid-down rubber being washed away off the racing line. Knowing that he would have to make up for the time lost during practice, Marx did not record a lap time until the second half of Saturday morning’s qualifying session. The purpose of this was to let his rivals lay down the rubber on the racing line; allowing him to capitalise on his new tyres in conditions that would offer better grip. He set the eighth-fastest time in the session to line up on the Race 1 grid as the highest qualifying championship rookie.

Marx drove a steady opening race to record a seventh-place finish. Despite losing a position to fellow rookie Julian Fameliaris, his efforts were aided by the retirement of both JP Nortje and Auke Compaan. Race 2 saw the field starting from an inverted grid based on the result from Race 1. Marx delivered a solid performance in the opening laps while occupying fifth-place in the running order. On Lap 8 the suspension on his Xado Jaguar broke which saw him pulling into pitlane to retire.

“With our limited setup time we have every reason to feel positive about our efforts today. Our decision to keep our hot laps for the end of qualifying and making the most of the tyres certainly paid dividends and allowed us to be right back in the game. We had a good first race where I enjoyed a good tussle with Auke until his retirement. We were of course looking forward to the advantage of the inverted grid for the second race as I knew I had the pace to maintain the position. Sadly, a mechanical problem put an end to that. There’s however no major damage as was suffered during our last outing; therefore we now focus on the lessons learned this weekend as we prepare for our return to Zwartkops for Round 3”

Marx would like to thank Xado Smart Nanotechnology, , Strado Truck and Trailer Remanufacturers, Union Propshafts and Mag Repairs for making his 2019 season possible.

Round 3 of the 2019 Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Championship will take place at Zwartkops Raceway on April 5-6.

Story by Reynard Gelderblom

 

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