With the news that Marit Strømøy is setting-up her own F1H2o team with her husband, Andrea Colombo, I thought that I would take a look back to December 2015 when the Norwegian recorded an historic win at the highest level.
Powerboat Racing World was launched four months later in April 2016, so I trawled through the archives of sports journalist Neil Perkins to find his race report.
Perkins who was in Sharjah covering the event for Team Abu Dhabi remembers:
I recall it was a fantastic race and an historic one with Marit becoming the first woman in history to win any form of formula one race, either on a track or on the water.
SHARJAH (UAE): Friday, December 18:
Engine issues cost current World Champion Philippe Chiappe his early lead and the EMIC Team’s Marit Stromoy took up the reins at the front of the field and managed to hold off a fierce challenge from Alex Carella to confirm her first ever Grand Prix victory.
The winning margin for the Norwegian was a mere 4.70 seconds after a stunning drive into the history books where she became the first woman ever to win a motor sport event at the highest level.
Forty-three laps around the 2.2km Khaled Lagoon course lay ahead for 18 drivers from 12 nations.
Philippe Chiappe made the best start and passed pole-sitter Erik Stark to snatch the early lead from Marit Stromoy, Alex Carella, Stark, Shaun Torrente and Sami Selio.
While Rashed Al-Qamzi slipped to eighth before moving back to seventh, as Chiappe gradually pulled away from the chasing pack.
The Frenchman extended his advantage to 5.91 seconds through lap five, but Ziwei Ziong had already fallen by the wayside for the CTIC China Team and Filip Roms was forced to run a one-lap drive-through penalty and slipped to the foot of the leader board.
The leading seven drivers held station through 10 laps, although a furious battle was waging between Stark and Torrente for fourth place and it continued for several laps with the American shadowing the Swede at high speed around the turn buoys.
The procession continued into lap 16 of 43, but Stromoy reduced Chiappe’s lead to 2.88 seconds as the Frenchman struggled with power issues and was overtaken by the Norwegian lady on lap 17.
The current World Champion’s demise promoted Carella to second, Al-Qamzi to sixth and gifted the UIM Teams’ title to Team Abu Dhabi with 25 laps of the race remaining.
Stromoy continued to stay ahead of Carella and she reached the halfway point with a lead of 2.32 seconds over the three-time former World Champion.
Stromoy maintained her composure and remained on course for a first ever Grand Prix win through lap 25, although Carella was breathing down her neck in second and Stark was a close third.
Jonas Andersson managed to pass Al-Qamzi on lap 30 to take sixth and the Emirati was forced to withdraw from the race.
Portugal’s Duarte Benavente also retired and his demise promoted Nadir Bin Hendi into the top 10.
The Norwegian held her nerve over the closing stages to secure a first Grand Prix win for a woman in F1 history and Carella’s second place was sufficient for the Italian to confirm the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship. Torrente passed Stark in the dying seconds to claim third place.
2015 Grand Prix of Sharjah
1. Marit Stromoy (NOR) EMIC Team 43 laps
2. Alex Carella (ITA) Team Abu Dhabi @ 4.70sec
3. Shaun Torrente (QAT) Victory Team @ 12.73 sec
4. Erik Stark (SWE) Emirates Team @ 16.50 sec
5. Sami Selio (FIN) Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team @ 18.34 sec
6. Jonas Andersson (SWE) Team Sweden @ 50.21 sec
7. Ahmed Al-Hameli (ARE) Emirates Team L1
8. Jesper Forss (SWE) Team Sweden L1
If you have enjoyed this, ‘Remember when…’ article, we’ll post more in due course as we eagerly await the start of the 2020 UIM F1H2o World Championship.