The World Rally Championship (WRC) is to move from Channel 4 to ITV1 as ISC, the TV and commercial rights holders to WRC, signs a new three-year agreement with ITV1.

ITV1 will cover each of the 16 rallies in the 2004 WRC calendar with a comprehensive one hour programme on every Sunday afternoon of each event, starting with the first rally of the season, Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, on 25 January at 3.45pm. In addition, ITV1 will broadcast a 30-minute magazine show previewing and reviewing each rally and extended coverage of Wales Rally GB.

Simon Long, ISC’s Managing Director says: ‘Channel 4 has played a key role in raising the profile of WRC in the UK during the past two years; their coverage has brought innovation and excitement to coverage of the sport. But ITV1’s ability to give WRC a guaranteed regular Sunday afternoon slot – as part of its commitment to become the ‘home of motorsport’ – is critical to grow our fan base and establish a mainstream appointment slot for WRC in the UK.’

Brian Barwick, ITV’s Controller of Sport, says: ‘We are delighted to become the new home of the World Rally Championship – a year-round white knuckle ride in some of the most exotic locations in the world, featuring the ultimate test of both driver and car against the elements.

‘We hope by giving it a regular Sunday afternoon slot we can attract not only the committed rally fan, but also bring a wider audience to the sport.’

David Kerr, Channel 4’s Head of Sport, says: ‘We have enjoyed our association with the WRC and have been able to introduce some of the innovations that have allowed us to revolutionise coverage of sport on TV, including Virtual Spectator. However the irregularity of the sport’s calendar means that in an increasingly competitive television environment we are unable to continue guaranteeing the slots for it. We feel that the agreement is the best one for the sport and its fans and wish the WRC continued success in the future.’

The move comes after two years of a three-year deal for the sport to be broadcast on Channel 4 and has agreement from all parties. Chrysalis TV, the producers of Channel 4’s coverage, will produce ITV1’s programming alongside their Formula One coverage for the broadcaster.

For further information please contact:

Sharon Walker, ISC
T: 0207 584 7584
M: 07733 001709

Gary Double, ITV
T:01483 750662
M:07768 825114

Matthew Robinson, C4
T:0207 306 3747
M:07909 684746