Chrysalis Sport, one of Britain’s leading independent sports producers, has signed a long-term deal with International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC) to become the television partner of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

The award-winning Indie, which is also responsible for ITV’s Formula 1 and Channel 4’s Football Italia, will implement a five year strategy to help move the WRC into mainstream sporting schedules and ultimately towards live coverage.

Earlier this year, David Richards, a key figure in world rallying, bought ISC, which owns the WRC television rights, from Bernie Ecclestone. Richards’ goal is to bring the Championship to a larger, wider ranging global audience.

‘The World Rally Championship is one of the most exciting and diverse sporting events,’ said Richards. ‘Using the production expertise of Chrysalis, I believe we can now package each of the unique 14 rallies across the world and turn it into one of the top globally televised sports.’

Chrysalis took over production at the Rally of Finland in August for the remaining six rallies of the 2000 calendar, but significant changes to the TV roster will not be seen until next year. By working closely with ISC’s newly appointed managing director, William Morrison, and the technology partner, Tony Purnell, the aim is to transform the WRC over five years into a TV package that can sit alongside other top sporting events.

Chrysalis Sport, a division of Chrysalis Television, has already begun assembling an impressive production team for 2001.

CTV Managing Director Neil Duncanson said: ‘This is a very exciting development for us. The World Rally Championship is an incredible event and we aim to take it to a new level in terms of production marketing and distribution. I feel we are now on the first step of what promises to be an extraordinary journey.

‘This is an epic sport with the world’s greatest drivers. It’s man and machine against the elements. Our job is to get that across to TV audiences worldwide.’

For further information contact: Annelise Unitt, Chrysalis Television – 020 7502 5730