GT-CER: Nerea Marti wins again in Portimao
Nerea Martí continues to stack up victories in her first season in touring cars: the Spaniard brought home a win in the second round of the Spanish Endurance Championship at Portimão, as she now heads to Miami for the start of her second W Series season.
Nerea Martí impressed everyone at her W Series debut in 2021, becoming the rookie of the year with fourth place in the drivers' standings and a podium – in only her second season in single-seaters. The young Spanish driver – part of the W Series Academy in her rookie year and now part of the Quantfury Team in the upcoming all-female championship – is continuing to climb the ladder of international motor racing and made her debut in the world of closed wheels this winter, as she joined BMW Motorsport Spain for a program in touring cars in the M2 CS Racing machine. Martí, 20, is sharing the car with experienced racer José Manuel de los Milagros and had the chance to get behind the wheel for an introductory season in the GT Winter Series - where they finished runner-up in the championship. The Valencian, in fact, proved to be a quick learner and soon claimed podium finishes and victories in the BMW M2, promptly adapting from single-seaters. At the first round of the 2022 Spanish Endurance Championship (GT-CER), Martí and De Los Milagros took a convincing victory and a second place in the D1 class in a rainy Valencia - which moved the BMW Spain duo on top of the class standings. At the Portuguese venue of Portimão, in support of DTM, GT-CER hosted the second round of the season - and Nerea Martí picked up where she had left off, securing two pole positions in class for Saturday and Sunday's races. José de los Milagros took the start of the first race of the weekend from 10th overall and leading the D1 class. With a great getaway, he would move into eighth place overall, mixing with the fastest GT cars and comfortably leading his class, ahead of Jorge Pereira, who had a couple of others cars in between his direct competitor. Ahead, the Porsche of Abreau was under pressure from Euser, who would make a move stick for the overall lead on lap 4 at Turn 1. A long battle for third between the #120 Porsche of Marreiros and the #107 Ferrari of Mayola ended with the latter picking up a puncture just before the driver change wid-way through the race. De los Milagros pitted with 21 minutes left on the clock and handed over the #81 BMW M2 to Nerea Martí – who rejoined in the class lead and seventh overall – and never looked back. Despite a late yellow flag for the stranded #114 Porsche of Gonzalez, the race remained green and Nerea Martí crossed the finish line to secure her second win of the season. The #717 Mac Car or Euser won overall, having passed the Porsche of Pinheiro who had gained the lead after the pit stop. Unfortunately, a technical issue on the #81 BMW M2 of Martí/De los Milagros prevented the strong driver pairing from repeating their performance on Sunday, as they could not take the start of the second race. The second 48-minute race saw again a dominant victory by Cor Euser, who managed to gain the lead of the race after a technical issue by the leading Porsche of Abreu dropped him down to third in the closing stages. Jorge Pereira won in D1, while Fiona James took D2 class victory in the #17 BMW M3. Two pole positions and a race win, though, represent a good amount of points for Martí/De los Milagros, who were first and second at Circuit Ricardo Tormo and can therefore remain in the title fight of the four-event Spanish championship. "This weekend we have taken another step with the car, I am more comfortable and we are going faster", said the young racer. The third round of the championship will be held at MotorLand Circuit on June 25-26, but Nerea Martí will have to turn her attention back to single seaters before, as she heads to Miami, USA, for the opening round of the 2022 W Series season this weekend.