Team Abu Dhabi manager Guido Cappellini (left) receives a clutch of powerboating World Championship trophies at the UIM Annual Awards in Lausanne on Monday. Image Credit: Organisers

Lausanne: The UAE’s Team Abu Dhabi was among the big winners at the 11th Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) Awards Ceremony staged at Le Musée Olympique in Lausanne on a night when Norway’s Marit Stromoy became the first female powerboat racer to be named ‘Driver of the Year’.

Team Abu Dhabi Manager and powerboat legend Guido Cappellini was on hand to collect the S2 Endurance crown won by Rashid Al Tayer, Rashid Al Qamzi, Shaun Torrente and Tullio Maria Abbate, as well as the F1 H2O World Championship won for a second consecutive year by Torrente and the F2 World Championship won by Al Qamzi.

“It’s a great honour to receive these UIM awards on behalf of the drivers after all of the hard work put in by the team in 2019,” Cappellini said after receiving the trophies from Nenad Lalovic, IOC Executive Committee Member and Raimondo Di San Germano, Director of H2O Racing.

“It was a thrilling season and these awards strengthen our resolve to win even more titles for Team Abu Dhabi in the years to come,” he added.

Stromoy was one of just two women to make the seven-driver shortlist in the UIM Driver of the Year category and the 43-year-old from Sandefjord - the first and only woman to have won an F1 race and who finished on the final podium of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship - again made sporting history by lifting the coveted trophy having obtained the highest score in a social media poll and a vote by the UIM Council.

The sport’s ‘Junior Driver of the Year’ title went to 11-year-old Estonian Ander Hubert Lauri, winner of both the 2019 UIM Aquabike Ski Juniors GP3.2 World and European Championships on a night when powerboat racing’s world governing body celebrated the achievements of its 2019 UIM World Champions.

“It was a big surprise but I’m incredibly proud to be named Driver of the Year by the international federation,” Stromoy said.

“This means so much to me, my team, my sponsors and my family. Of course it’s also an honour to be considered a role model for female drivers in our sport – I’ve been racing for 30 years now and this will give the team a huge boost as we prepare for the new season,” she added.

Cappellini was also among the VIP presenters at the gala occasion and the 10-time F1 world champion was delighted to hand over the Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nayhan Abu Dhabi trophies to GT15 World Champion Alex Cewe from Sweden and the GT30 World Champion Andre Solvang of Norway.

In addition to recognising the achievements of its world champions, the UIM also presented its “Environmental Award” to the Sun Razor 01 Project by Blue Matrix, a project dedicated to the development of solar powered boating, while the “UIM Stefano Casiraghi Memorial Trophy” was presented to Dr Chungwon Choue, the President of World Taekwondo, for his pioneering humanitarian initiatives and his personal investment in international sport and peace.