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18 February 2015, Dubai – History will be made in Fujairah next weekend when the World Professional Powerboat Association (WPPA) welcomes the first ever woman driver to the UIM XCAT World Series.   The 2015 season will kick off with the opening round in Fujairah from 25 – 27 February with Sweden’s Veronica Olderin behind the wheel of the new Swecat Racing team. Olderin is certainly no stranger to powerboat racing, having been involved in the sport since her teens. But this will be her first taste of XCAT racing as she joins forces with former Class 3C world champion Mikael Bengtsson in one of four teams joining the Series for the first time this season. “My father has been competing my whole life so when I turned 18 I had my first race with my father. After that I bought my first boat and since then I have been competing with an all-girl team in different classes,” explained Olderin. “I have several Swedish gold medals and pretty good positions in the European championships also.” Swecat Racing have invested in two new boats constructed by the Dubai-based Victory Team – one to race in the Series and one for practice and training in Sweden. “We are very grateful to the Victory Team and to the WPPA who have helped us to be a part of the World Series. We are looking to sign up for three years but we are starting out just with this year and then we’ll develop the team,” said Niklas Sjöö, CEO of the Swecat Racing team. “What is really special is that all the team members own the company together – we all have shares in the company.” The Swecat team will be working with defending champions Fazza – Arif al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi – this week in preparing for their first race. “We’re having a training session with the Victory Team at the end of this week and hopefully we will learn a lot from Arif and Nadir in that time. We are very grateful for that. That will be a good experience for me,” said Olderin. Team manager, Marcus Friberg, said: “Our main goal is to complete the races, to represent Sweden well – because we are the national offshore team for Sweden now – so it’s a huge responsibility and a great honour for us to do this because offshore racing in Sweden is a really big thing. “We have probably over 400 active teams racing in different divisions there. So these drivers we’ve got in our team are the hand-picked few. They’ve won the most titles, have the best charisma, and best drive to do the best work in the whole team.”

Swecat Racing team ready for action – Mikael Bengtsson (Throttleman), Marcus Friberg (Team Manager) and the first ever woman pilot in the UIM XCAT World Series, Veronica Olderin (Driver)

  Speaking about what the other teams in the Series reaction might be, Friberg added: “I think it’s going to be a shock for them actually. There are very few women racing offshore so I think the expectations are very low, but I think if we get the boat turning out like we want it to with the Victory Team – which I have no worries about at all – I think we’re going to be really competitive and I think the overall view of women in racing is going to be very positive after just a few races.” As for Olderin herself, she hopes her presence in the Series will inspire other women drivers. “Hopefully it will be a positive reaction and the other teams will welcome me as all the other new teams. I want to be treated just like everybody else. This is a sport where we have been competing against each other for so many years so I don’t think it will be so different having a woman in one of the boats,” she said. The first round of the UIM XCAT World Series kicks off on Wednesday, 25 February, with the main race – the Fujairah Grand Prix taking place on the afternoon of Friday, 27 February.

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