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Circuit Paul Ricard. 02 June 2020
January 02, 2011
Published on tags: Superleague
Reigning World Champions Nordsjoen Racing released a statement from their headquarters in Cardiff to announce the team's lineup for the 2011 season. The Italian-Norwegian team presented a highly competitive driver pairing, with 2009 World Champion Joe Consiglio being partnered by Finn Jyri Lylykorpi, while test driver roles (and Supercup duties) go to debutant Samuli Leinonen and Mindaugas Maciulaitis.

After losing 2010 Champion Janne Tanskanen to retirement and highly-rated Adam Rouse to Triple-Double Racing, team manager Birgitte Wangensteen had no doubt hotshot Lylykorpi, who drove successfully in 2009 and in the later parts of 2010, offered the best prospects to mount a competitive campaign in the Constructors' Championship. "Jyri is an experience driver of proven pace" said Wangensteen, "and his work with Tanskanen in 2009 means he is likely to be well suited to our 2011 contender." The good news for the team continue as Joe Consiglio, who competed only part-time in 2010, return in a full-time position. "Joe is a true star of GPVWC and the driver who brought us our first Drivers' title - it is a honour to be able to welcome him back in the team."

Nordsjoen announced Lylykorpi will take part in car number 0, while Consiglio will opt for number 2 - the same number in which he raced to the Championship in 2009. Despite the huge expectations for a team that ruled for the whole rFactor-era in GPVWC, Wangensteen highlights that pressure is off for the Cardiff-based team: "We won the last two Drivers' Championships and the last three Constructors' ones: we know this places us among the favourites for 2011, but we know the opposition will be formidable and it is not possible to win all the time. We have potential, we will go out there and give our best, and that will be what makes us happy - if someone does a better job, we'll shake their hands."

Maltese ace Consiglio is truly looking forward to the season, and is happy to be back in action: "NordsjoenRacing is like asecond home to meand afterI made the decision tocompete full timein 2011,there was only really oneteam I wanted to drive for. As far as I can tell this season will be wide open. It'sdifficult to know where we'll stand in terms of our competitiveness but I'm hopeful we'll have another good year."

The 2009 Champion is loth to give a straight favourite for the Crown, and points out a wide range of potential World-beaters. "The first test will give a good indication ofwhich drivers and teamswill be 'the ones towatch'.I have to say there are alot of talentedguyslining up for 2011and with Janne steppingdownas Champion,I'm expecting somefantastic racing near the top. I think the field in general will be the closest it's been for years, particularlyas engine parity comes into play. I could name a dozen drivers who are capable of wins given the right circumstances."

When asked to name the list, team-mate Jyri Lylykorpi is one of the drivers Consiglio believes can win races and compete for the title: "It's great to have Jyri in the team too. He's been involved in the league since 2009 and has shown flashes of brilliant speed in that time. I was particularly impressed with his front row start in Singapore last season and I believe wewill form a very strong partnership, hopefully one whichwill allow usto challenge for the Constructors Championship once again. As for the Drivers Championship, it's very early days to start talking about who's the favourite.For sure I'd like to win some races this season, I guess if that happenswe can then startlooking at wherewe are in the standings."

Jyri Lylykorpi showed some of the most inspiring racing of last season, clinching P2 in qualifying in Singapore in an underpowered CSG and often having to pass the whole field in the course of some famous comebacks. 2011 will be a test of maturity for the Finn, who will be given machinery good enough to fight for the Championship. "It is an absolute honour to drive for such an illustrious team" said Lylykorpi to the press, "I would like to see myself as an consistent point scorer. I also would like to challenge for race victories, now that I have the car which obviously is a race winning car. I'm also looking very much forward to working with Joe. I have heard many great things about him and hopefully we can form a good pair for Nordsjoen. Winning both drivers and constructors championships for Nordsjoen is of course priority."

Hailing from Finland, and having partnered Janne Tanskanen in 2009, comparisons between the two are already flooding the media. The situation, however, leaves Lylykorpi unfazed: "Of course it's sad that Janne decided to quit his GPVWC career. I'm especially disappointed as Janne was a big influence on my GPVWC career. We started our careers together at Evans Blue and Janne was really always very helpful with the setups and race tactics. So it's a pity that Janne decided to quit, but in other way it opened another possibility for me as I now have this awesome chance to drive for one of the top teams of GPVWC. So I'm having a bit mixed feelings about Janne's absence."

"I don't really feel any pressure though about substituting Janne as a Nordsjoen driver. I'm confident that I can challenge for race victories and I'm going to do my very best for the team, that's for sure. I'm not really focusing on matching Janne's performances, I'm just here to drive my own race and do my best for the team. At the end of the day I don't really care who won the championship last year, I'm just trying to do my best at the moment and every race that's ahead."

The new Nordsjoen signing was also quick to acknowledge the teams that brought him here: "Well I'm very pleased that I have always had the chance to drive for such great teams. Evans Blue was a magnificent place to start my career. I have nothing bad to say about CSG, I'm grateful that Dave [Carr-Smith] gave me the chance to drive for them and especially the three latter races of the 2010 season were great. I'm happy that I managed to prove myself to Nordsjoen staff and especially [team owner] William [Ponissi] and I'm looking forward to working with them in 2011."

The team presentation also included a note introducing Samuli Leinonen and Mindaugas Maciulaitis as the two reserve/test drivers (and Supercup entrants) for the forthcoming season. After having scouted them in the course of the winter, Ponissi declared: "Samuli and Mindaugas have a proven track history of success in other series, and could have easily found a seat in the Superleague. Nordsjoen Racing are lucky to have secured these two drivers for the Supercup, where they will hopefully achieve the same level of success we have got in the Superleague. Their presence is also a reassurance for the main campaign - should Joe or Jyri miss a race, we have top quality substitutes for them."

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