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Nerea Martí takes first GT4 victory in Spanish GT Championship

At her second weekend in the car, Nerea Martí claimed her first race victory in GT4 machinery, in a flawless run in the Spanish GT Championship's Aragon second race.

Photo credits: BMW Spain

Spanish racing star Nerea Martí has been one of the protagonists of the all-new F1 Academy championship, where she has claimed two podium finishes out of the first three rounds.

At the same time, the Valencian - part of the BMW España Motorsport factory effort - continues to impress in GT racing as well, having just taken her first race wins at the wheel of the BMW M4 GT4.

Martí, 21, made her debut in closed-cockpit cars in 2022, when she joined teammate José Manuel de los Milagros for the Spanish Endurance Championship, sharing the BMW M2 CS Racing machine. Martí and de los Milagros contested the GT Winter Series championship as the Spaniard learned the secrets of touring car racing - and with several podium finishes, the duo finished runner up.

They would claim the title in the D2 class in the Spanish Endurance Championship (CER), before moving to GT4 machinery for the 2023 season aboard the new M4 GT4.

Martí and de los Milagros claimed a class podium in the first round of the season at Navarra, at their first taste of the car - which made for a very promising debut.

Martí then had to miss the second round of the GT-CER season due to a clash with the second round of the F1 Academy at her home track in Valencia; José de los Milagros went on to race solo at Portimao, taking victory in race 1 and a further third place in race 2. After the opening two race meetings, Nerea sat seventh in the championship standings, with only one race under her belt.

At Motorland Aragon, the drivers of the #172 BMW M4 GT4 were eager to climb back on the class podium, but would have to beat the fast Mercedes AMG GT4s of the NM Racing Team. In the two qualifying sessions, both de los Milagros and Martí clocked the second fastest time in class, respectively in P10 and P13 overall.

Race 1

With a brilliant start, José de los Milagros took the outside line at the first corner and gained several positions in the overall classification, holding second in class. In the traffic of a few GPX cars, though, Martí's teammate had to avoid a potential contact at turn 1 on lap 2 and lost ground to the class leader. One lap later, the #172 BMW M4 GT4 pulled into the pitlane with a tyre puncture. The BMW driver rejoined at the tail end of the grid.

A few laps later, two more cars pitted with punctures.

De los Milagros had set the fastest lap in class and opted to stay out for a few more laps when the pit window opened while the other GPR cars pitted. Most of the front runners dived in pitlane on lap 12, while de los Milagros pitted two laps later: Nerea Martí got behind the wheel from P17 overall and fifth in class.

Winner of the first round at Aragon in the GPX class, Solenn Amrouche took over the #101 Vortex who had been raced in first place overall by her father Lionel for most of the first stint; the Frenchwoman rejoined in fourth place.

Once behind the wheel, Nerea Martí gained over one second per sector to the cars ahead and the Valencian overtook the #126 PCR Sport Mercedes AMG GT4 for fourth in class. With a big gap to third and only a handful of minutes left on the clock, Nerea had to settle for fourth, despite a very strong pace. The unscheduled pit stop in the early stages of the race in fact hampered her chances for a podium.

In the second stint, Solenn Amrouche dropped to seventh overall and fourth in class, after a good recovery by the Escuderia Faraon Porsche of Santos. Daniel Carretero took overall victory in the Audi R8 GT2, ahead of Philippe Gruau, who retained second despite a 10 second penalty.

Race 2

The second 48-minute race got underway on Sunday in the early afternoon, with the 21 car field taking the green flag at 1pm. From P13 overall, Nerea Martí lined up third in the GPR class, behind the NM Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 cars of Guillermo Aso and Manel Lao Cornago. At the wheel of the #101 Vortex, Solenn Amrouche took the start for the first part of the race from sixth in GPX and 15th overall. At lights out, a multi-car contact between the NM Racing Mercedes and Bakker's #108 Porsche at turn 1 resulted in chaos in the midfield: Nerea Martí perfectly avoided the contacts and moved into the lead in class, 11th overall. Similarly, Solenn Amrouche was climbing the order in the #101 Vortex, who gained almost ten positions. The Frenchwoman was up to sixth overall and third in class after the second lap. Martí, though, had to keep an eye on the #181 McLaren GT4 of Gutierrez and the #125 Porsche 718 of Fuset, as the three GT4 entries followed each other closely throughout the first laps. Having temporarily slipped to third, Nerea passed Gutierrez on lap 4 and set the fastest lap of the race, hunting down Fuset and eventually passing him one lap later to regain the lead. Martí got by a few GT3 Cup cars as well, as she tried to extend her lead among the GT4 entries. Guillermo Aso's #116 NM Racing Mercedes was also making up ground after the first lap incident and was soon up to third place. Aso overtook Fuset for second on lap 9 - but Martí was already 8 seconds up the road. Having settled in fifth place in class, Solenn Amrouche pitted once the pit window opened and handed over to her father Lionel. After a brilliant first stint, Nerea Martí pitted with a 10 second lead in the GPR class and José de los Milagros took over the #172 BMW M4 GT4. Once the round of pit stops were completed, de los Milagros retained a 9 second margin - but a safety car with 16 minutes to go bunched up the field once again. De los Milagros held the lead at the restart, aided by a few cars of other classes in between his closest class rival. While he could pull away in the second part of the race, the NM Racing Mercedes of Duran and Bay got closer in the final minutes. Nerea's teammate, though, always had the race under control and took victory in GPR, after a superb performance by the two BMW España Motorsport drivers. At only her second race weekend in the car, it was Nerea Martí's first victory in GT4 machinery, having already secured a podium at debut. With the result, the drivers of the #172 BMW M4 GT4 move up to second place in the championship standings - ahead of Nerea's home race at Valencia Ricardo Tormo on 23-24 September. There will be no break, though, for the Spanish star: in just a few days, she will be back behind the wheel of the Campos Racing Tatuus for the fourth round of the F1 Academy championship at Zandvoort, Netherlands.



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