Marit Stromoy of the EMIC Team holds her trophy after winning the Sharjah Grand Prix, the sixth and final round of the 2015 UIM F1 H20 World Championship. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Marit Stromoy, one of two female drivers in the UIM F1H2O World Powerboat Championship, has vouched to be “competitive and ready to race” when action eventually gets under way later this year.

Speaking on Stephen J Michael’s ‘Backstage Pass’ webcame show earlier this week, Stromoy was confident of a flying start to F1 powerboat racing later during the season.

“Honestly, I don’t really know what lies ahead for all of us. But I do know that we will all be out of this situation in a much better way,” Stromoy told Michael, the official presenter and producer for F1H2O.

“I am convinced that soon we will all be able to work again as professionals in our sport. But till then, we’ve got to all we can to be at our best, both physically and mentally so that I can be competitive and ready to race and win some as well,” she added.

Earlier this year, the Emirates Racing team driver became the first female powerboat racer to be named ‘Driver of the Year’ at the 11th Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) Awards ceremony staged at Le Musee Olympique in Lausanne in the first week of March. The coveted ‘Best Driver’ trophy is chosen through a score on social media and a vote by the members of the UIM Council.

The 2020 drivers’ list has a second lady driver - Simone Bianca Schuft from the Italy-based Blaze Performance team.

Marit Stromoy in action on the water.

One of just two women to make the seven-driver shortlist, the 43-year-old from Sandefjord – some 110km from Norway capital Oslo – became the first and only woman to have a F1 race win (2015 Grand Prix of Sharjah). Stromoy once again featured in a bit of history after she finished on the podium of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Powerboat Championship, also in Sharjah.

Promoters H2O Racing had put an eight-race calendar in place for the 2020 season with the opening round in Saudi Arabia (March 17-21) and the traditional season finale at the Grand Prix of Sharjah in the second half of December. But with the current pandemic situation, the calendar has been amended with Nicolo di San Germano from the promoters waiting for a green signal to start.

“For the time-being, I am busy doing what everyone else is doing. I have done more cooking in just two months than what I have done during my entire life,” Stromoy related.

“But at the same time I have time to pursue my passion of powerboat racing. This is not exactly on the water, but more of keeping myself in shape so that I am in a state of readiness when racing actually begins,” she added.

Stromoy is well-known for her attitude to contribute to powerboating history. At the 2011 Portimao Grand Prix in Portugal, she became the first woman in the F1H2O World Powerboat Championship to earn pole position, while four years later she went a step further with an exciting outright win at the Grand Prix of Sharjah in 2015 and join the elite Grand Prix Winners’ Club with a maiden victory.

Currently, the Norwegian driver whose debut was way back as a 12-year-old in a Class 3 boat (named Hurricane) back home in Norway in 1989, Stromoy has so far contested in 90 Grand Prix races. Her best came last season when she finished in third position in the overall standings behind Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning world champion Shaun Torrente and Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson.

In 1993, Stromoy started racing in S-550, winning the European Championship three times (1996, 1998 and 1999) and the Nordic Championship twice (1996 and 1999). In 2000, the Norwegian moved up to race in F-2000, finishing second in the UAE President’s Cup in 2002, second in the Nordic Championship in 2005 and third in the European Championship in 2007.

The UIM F1H2O World Championship is the world’s foremost international series of single-seater inshore circuit powerboat racing. Highly competitive, intensely challenging, risky and entertaining at the same time, inshore circuit powerboat racing is the ultimate adrenaline rush and regarded as one of the most spectacular and exciting sports in the world.