Although the championship was decided a week ago, the final race of the 2015 Union Internationale Motonautique F1 H2O World Championships proved historic thanks to the efforts of veteran F1 H2O driver Norway’s Marit Strømøy, who became the first woman in series history to win a Grand Prix.
An exuberant Marit Strømøy and the EMIC Team will be celebrating tonight. Photos courtesy Idea Marketing (click image to enlarge).
Strømøy, who drives for the EMIC Team, secured the victory on Khaled Lagoon, besting 17 men from 10 different nations to take the checkered flag at the 16th annual Grand Prix of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The historic race marked Strømøy’s first podium of her eight-year career, and it was clear she was overjoyed on the top step of the podium as she held off three-time world champion Alex Carella of Italy and American Shaun Torrente of the Victory Team to win for the first time in more than 60 starts.
“It was a great day for me and everyone on my EMIC Team since we worked so hard during the season to get the boat, engine and setup just right and it finally came together today,” the 39 year-old from Kristiansand said in an F1 H2O release. “We knew we could have a shot at the lead if we could get around the first corner quickly and cleanly, and we did just that moving from fourth to second on the first lap. I felt that made all the difference.
“I could feel the heat behind me with Carella breathing down my neck for the final 20 laps—however, we were able to pull away a few more seconds in the final laps to secure the win,” Strømøy continued. “What a great feeling. This is what makes all the hard work and patience pay off with a race team and I have a great group of people who believe in me as well and that makes all the difference. It was a great way to end the season that’s for sure.”
And eight-year veteran of F1 H2O, Norway’s Strømøy won her first race in Sharjah.
Finishing 4.7 seconds back in second was Carella, the runner-up in the championship behind CTIC China Team driver Philippe Chiappe of France who won the world championship for the second straight year.
“It was a tough grind today,” Carella said. “We made a last-minute engine adjustment and it seemed to make a difference but I couldn’t get closer than 1.2 seconds to Marit— hats off to her, she deserved the day for sure.”
Finishing third on the day and also in the championship hunt was American Shaun Torrente, who was caught up in a battle for the final spot on the podium with pole-sitting driver Erik Stark of the Emirates Team. Separated by just 1.5 seconds most of the day, Torrente got the upper hand on the last lap passing the driver from Stockholm through the right-hand turn and beating him by less than four seconds.
Victory Team driver Shaun Torrente of Florida finished third in the season finale and third in the overall F1 H2O points championship.
“It was a battle out there today,” Torrente said. “We had to concentrate 100 percent of every moment with Erik not giving me much hope until the end. It’s great to get on the podium to wrap up the season and a great way to spring forward for 2016 for the Victory Team.”
Finishing fifth was two-time world champion Sami Selio of the Mad Croc Baba Team, who stayed right in step with the battling duo in front of him and finished 18 seconds behind the winner.
The other big story of the race came when second-place starter and last year’s winner, Chiappe, raced off into the lead and held the point for the first third of the race. Looking for his third victory of the season, Chiappe’s engine started to misfire and he pulled into the pits. He came back out for a few more laps only to leave, finishing unofficially 15th on the day to end his championship season with his second failure to go the distance.
The kickoff for the 33rd chapter of the F1 H2O series will be announced soon. In the meantime, keep up with all the news at the recently redesigned www.f1h2o.com.
Chiappe Wins Second-Straight F1 H2O Title After Finishing Second in Abu Dhabi
Victory Team Introduces Two New F1 H2O Boats
Chiappe Cruises to First F1 H2O Victory in China
Chiappe Wins in Portugal, Closes in on F1 H2O Points Leader Torrente
Victory Team and Torrente Ready for Portugal After Testing in Italy
Al Rubayan Wins in France After Carella Disqualification, Torrente Takes Fourth
Torrente to Defend Points Lead in Evian with Victory Team
France’s Chiappe Wins in Sharjah to Claim F1 H2O World Crown