Nerea Martí takes double victory in Spanish Endurance Series at Navarra
With an utterly dominant weekend in the Spanish Endurance Championship, Nerea Martí and her BMW Spain teammate José de los Milagros secured a double-victory at Navarra and regained the top of the championship standings, ahead of the season finale in Barcelona.
Her season in W Series unfortunately came to an early end, but Nerea Martí is not letting that setback outside of her control stop her: alongside her second season in the all-female single-seater championship, the 20 year-old Valencian has been contesting her rookie year in touring cars as well, in an official line up by BMW Motorsport Spain in the national endurance championship.
After only two campaigns in formula cars – F4 Spain in 2019, and 2021 as the W Series' rookie of the year – Martí took on the challenge and shared the wheel of the #81 BMW M2 CS Racing with experienced driver José Manuel de los Milagros in the GT Winter series, in order to get acclimated with the car. They would finish second in the championship with class wins and podiums to their name.
Martí and de los Milagros then carried momentum in the GT-CER, the Spanish Endurance Championship that got underway in Valencia, Nerea's home track, in March.
On a rainy weekend, they took a convincing victory in Race 2 and a second place in the D1 class, claiming the top of the class standings.
Martí would win again at the second round in Portimao, in a race weekend held in support of DTM, just before she took off to Miami for the start of her second W Series campaign.
Nerea and her teammate, then, had a perfect weekend at Motorland Aragon in June, when they secured a double class win that put them on top of the overall classification as well.
Following a long summer break, the Spanish Endurance Championship made its return to the track in mid September – but the clash with the FIA Formula 3 female test prevented Nerea Martí from getting back in the BMW M2 CS Racing operated by BMW Spain.
The fifth round at Navarra, one month later, was therefore the opportunity for the young Spaniard to switch again from single-seaters to touring cars, as she teamed up again with José Manuel de los Milagros, who had shared the #81 BMW with Sergio Paulet at Jerez.
“Navarra is a very special circuit for me since I made my debut here with a F4 in 2019 and since then I haven't been back" – said Nerea ahead of the race weekend. She headed into the double-header second in the championship standings.
"I really want to meet up with the team again and race with José. We have a clear goal: win."
Both the races at Navarra were contested on Sunday, in a spectacular day for the national Spanish motor racing scene.
The practice sessions claimed two competitors on the entry list: the Audi TT of José Sánchez and Daniel Sánchez - out of contention for technical issues - as well as the Vortex V8 of Philippe Gruau and Solenn Amrouche, who forced the French squad's mechanics to extra work to fix the car in time for the races after an accident.
The Porsche 991 Cup driven by Francisco Abreu and Francisco Mora scored pole position in both races in the GT class, while José de los Milagros and Nerea Martí were unbeatable in the CER category, setting the benchmark once again.
In an overcast and windy Sunday, the first race went green in the early morning: Daniel Carretero took the lead thanks to a brilliant start, but polesitter Francisco Abreu soon fought back and reclaimed the top spot in GT. Cor Euser's third place was also under attack, but the Dutchman held on.
In CER, de los Milagros took the start of the first race and pulled away, as José Luis Lopez, Juan Campos, Henk van Zoest , Vicente Vallés and Alejandro Iribas were engaged in close battles behind.
Positions settled and, with an increasing threat of rain from the grey skies, teams tried to extend their stints in order to avoid a potential double stop for rain tyres. The pit window opened and, after the round of pit stops, Mora retained first place overall in the leading Porsche - but Pablo Yeregui, who had taken over from Carretero, had dropped behind Antonio and Ana Sainero, as well as Cor Euser. The latter managed to recover back to second.
Nerea Martí held the lead in CER throughout the second stint, unchallenged - bringing home also fthe first place in the D1 class.
The race ended with a last lap incident between the Audi R8 GT4 of Pierre Arraou and the Audi RS3 LMS of Pedro Silva.
Weather conditions changed for Race 2, as the sun was out shining on the Navarra circuit - but results were mostly unchanged at the top of the categories.
The Porsche 991 Cup of Francisco Mora and Francisco Abreu defended pole position in the first corners - while Cor Euser had to give up second to the fast charging Daniel Carretero, who was then able to catch the overall leader and overtook him.
Carretero would retain first place until a gearbox failure that ended his race prematurely - and handed back the lead to Portuguese duo Mora/Abreu.
Meanwhile, a flawless Nerea Martí commanded the race in CER, among the touring cars.
Positions changed after the stops - as success penalties mixed up the order: a faster stop by Ana Sainero meant that her brother Antonio could move up to second, ahead of Cor Euser in the Mac Car. Abreau and Mora, though, once again found themselves in the lead and took victory in race 2.
Similarly, Nerea Martí pitted and handed over to José de los Milagros, who rejoined in the lead and never looked back, giving no chances to the CER and D1 class competitors.
The BMW Spain duo therefore completed a perfect weekend, leading throughout the sessions in a remarkably dominant performance at Navarra.
With two more victories under their belt, Nerea Martí and her teammate are now back on top of the championship standings, ahead of the season finale at Circuit de Montmelo.
"I have a good feeling and I come back wanting to play the championship in Barcelona." - Nerea commented after the Navarra double-victory, as she now aims to clinch her first ever national title at her rookie season in touring cars.
The next round of the Spanish Endurance Championship will be held on November 26/27 at Montmelo, the home of the Spanish GP.