Norway’s Marit StrØmØy 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 Musée Olympique in Lausanne on Saturday (March 7).
One of just two women to make the seven-driver shortlist, the 43-year-old from Sandefjord – the first and only woman to have won a Formula 1 race and who finished on the final podium of the 2019 UIM F1H2O World Championship – once again made sporting history by lifting the coveted “Best Driver” 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,” said StrØmØy, who created history by winning an F1 race in Sharjah, UAE in 2015.
“This means so much to me, my team, my sponsors and my family. Of course it’s 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.”
Around 200 VIP guests, featuring powerboating world champions as well as attendees from the worlds of sport, commerce, the boating industry and media, gathered for the first UIM Annual Awards to be held outside of its base in Monaco.
“To host the UIM Awards Giving Ceremony and Dinner in the Olympic capital is a great honour for us and we are delighted to see so many champions and distinguished guests join us for what is one of the highlights of our calendar,” said UIM President Dr Raffaele Chiulli.
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 sports and peace.