by Class One
Two of Norway’s most skillful powerboat stars Marit Strømøy and Pål Virik Nilsen have confirmed they will race together for the first time when Class 1 makes its historic racing debut in Sanya in China on 28-30 March.
Marit Strømøy and Pål Virik Nilsen
Marit will swap the confines of her single-seater F1H2O circuit boat to take the wheel beside the experienced Pål Virik in the same Maritimo-designed and built hull powered by Mercury V8 power-plants that she made her Class 1 debut in in Brazil in 2010. 'Racing in Class 1 with Pål is a great opportunity to learn more about Class 1,' she said. 'It's very different from my inshore boat, but I'm always up for a challenge. I've raced in China many times and they are well known for putting on a great show so we are excited to go there.'
Born in Sandefjord, Norway and now living in Oslo, 36-year-old Strømøy made racing history in 2011 in when she became the first woman in the F1H2O World Championship to qualify in Pole Position.
She made her racing debut in 1989 at the age of twelve. In 1993 she started racing in S-550, winning the European Championship three times (1996, 1998, 1999) and the Nordic Championship twice (1996, 1999). In 2000 she moved up to race in F-2000, and was voted ‘rookie of the year’, finishing second in the UAE Presidents Cup in 2002, second in the Nordic Championship in 2005 and third in the European Championship in 2007.
She became the first woman to compete in the F1H2O World Championship in 2007, taking third overall in the Team Cup in 2009. She has also competed in the legendary Rouen 24-hour race, finishing on the podium three times (second in 2009 and third in 2006/7).
At 38, Pål Virik is an accomplished Class 1 veteran with 32 starts under his belt. He made his Class 1 debut at the Trondheim Grand Prix in Norway in 2005 with Giorgioffshore. In 2007 he switched roles from driver to throttleman to form an exciting partnership with Tom Barry-Cotter racing for the Spirit of Norway oufit, then later that year under the Maritimo Australia banner and going on to win a hat-trick of titles in the Australian Offshore Superboat Championship (2008/9/10).
He made his powerboat debut in 1992 in T-400 circuit racing and has competed in V-25, S-550, Formula 3 and 4, Formula 2000 and Class 3 1.3 and 2litre. He has won six UIM World and European Championship medals in different offshore and circuit classes, including the World Formula 4 title in 1998.
He finished on the podium three times in Class 1 in 2009 and once in 2011. Last season he competed in Class 1 in Qatar and the F2 World Championship, his win in Cagliari in Italy the highlight of a season cut short through injury. 'It’s really nice to continue in Class 1 and to team up with a long-time friend from our childhood town is really cool,' said Pål. 'Racing in China will be huge for Class 1 and I hope we can add something to that. On the water we need to be realistic, get the set-up on the boat right and try to improve every session.'
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