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Nerea Martí crowned Spanish GT champion

Nerea Martí and her BMW Spain teammate have claimed the Spanish GT championship title at her first season in GT4 machinery, following a class podium finish at the 2-hour season finale in Barcelona. It is Nerea's second national title, after her Spanish Endurance Championship victory last year.

Nerea Martí, BMW Spain Motorsport, BMW M4 GT4, GT-CER
Photo credits: NOP Films

Nerea Martí has claimed the Spanish GT Championship title at her first season in GT4 machinery, following a remarkable campaign that saw the young Valencian - who shared the #172 BMW M4 GT4 with José Manuel de los Milagros in the BMW Spain factory team - take six podium finishes and two class victories.

Martí immediately stepped on the podium at their GT4 debut in Navarra, before securing her first win at Aragon on the third round, having missed the Portimao meeting due to a clash with the F1 Academy schedule. After a third place in race 1 at Valencia, Nerea was back on top in the GT4 class in race 2 - a result that allowed the duo to enter the final rounds in championship contention.

The fifth and penultimate round at Jerez de la Frontera saw the Spaniard claiming a pair of second places, which further established her position ahead of the season finale at Circuit de Catalunya, for one final 2-hour contest that would assign the GT-CER titles.

“I'm really looking forward to this last race since there are three teams that are at stake for the championship. It is a long race, two hours, and we will fight hard to take the championship home.”

Martí and de los Milagros had already teamed up in a BMW Spain effort last year, when they secured the Spanish Endurance Championship title aboard the BMW M2 CS Cup car, at Nerea's first ever venture in touring cars - and would aim to repeat the accomplishment in Spanish GT at the sixth round at Barcelona.

While it was a bit of a tricky start into practice, the duo got up to speed and fought for the top three in class in qualifying; José Manuel de los Milagros was behind the wheel for Q1, where he was fourth fastest in class and 12th overall. Nerea Martí then took over for Q2, where she clocked a 1:52.739 that put the #172 BMW fifth in class. With combined times setting the grid for the 2 -hour race, Martí and de los Milagros would line up fourth among the GT4 entries and P12 overall.

Nerea was on the attack at the start of the race and immediately tried to move up the field; she passed a few cars from other classes then battled with Manuel Lao's #115 Mercedes. With 1 hour and 46 minutes to go, Martí found a way past Lao with a great move at turn 1, grabbing third place in class and tenth overall. On lap 9, though, positions changed again when the Mercedes fought back.

Nevertheless, Nerea kept the gap steady to the car ahead, then moved up to ninth overall with 1 hour and 20 minutes to go, when the #102 Vortex of Gruau came to a halt, triggering some pit stops as teams predicted a full course yellow. The incident was cleared under local yellows and, once back to green, the GT4 class was led by the two NM Racing cars of Patrick Bay and Manuel Lao, who had passed the #130 Mercedes AMG of Salvador Tineo.

Martí was faster than Tineo and climbed the order up to sixth overall and third in class as the round of pit stops started; she pitted on lap 28, handing over to her teammate Manuela José de los Milagros mid-way through the race, who rejoined P5 in class.

Nerea Martí, BMW Spain Motorsport, BMW M4 GT4, GT-CER
Photo credits: NOP Films

Once aboard the #172 BMW M4 GT4, de los Milagros hunted down Jordi Fuset's Porsche 718 GT4 and, having gained almost one second per lap, he battled with the #125 machine for several laps, while also breaking in again in the top ten overall. De los Milagros well managed some slower class traffic and attacked Fuset for the class lead at the end of the pit cycle - but he was a bit deep into turn 1 and had to postpone the move by one lap, when he eventually cleared the #125 Porsche on lap 37.

A couple of laps later, de los Milagros took over the overall lead, which he held for three laps before Dieter Svepes' #135 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup recovered after his stop.

When de los Milagros was looking to open a gap, the #172 BMW M4 had to pit again with 35 minutes to go, just as the SC was deployed for the stricken #116 NM Motorsport Mercedes who had lost a wheel and came to a halt on track.

De los Milagros lost a lap to the class leaders and rejoined in P4 as the race went back to green with 20 minutes left on the clock. Martí's teammate, though, kept pushing and was over two seconds per lap quicker than the cars ahead; when Jordi Fuset (#125 NM Motorsport Mercedes) was handed a drive through penalty with 8 minutes to go, the #130 Mercedes of Gonzalez moved up to second, but de los Milagros wasn't close enough to grab a potential podium.

On the final lap, though, another dramatic moment saw the class leader Jan Duran (#115 NM Motorsport) losing a rear wheel as well; Gonzalez took the victory, ahead of Fuset and José Manuel de los Milagros, who clinched third in class on the final lap.

With two points separating the Martí/de los Milagros to Lao/Duran, third place was enough for the BMW Spain drivers to raise the championship trophy at the end of an exciting season finale in Barcelona.

“We are very happy for this second consecutive title“, Nerea said. "I am very excited and I hope we can repeat it next year.”

Nerea Martí has therefore secured two national championships in just as many years in GT racing, and will now prepare for her 2024 racing program, which is yet to be announced.



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