In what can only be described as fantastic news, ITV4 have secured the rights to screen the World Rally Championship. Round 3 highlights from Mexico will air on Tuesday 12th March at 17:50.
Considering the fact that WRC’s trajectory in this country has headed south in recent times, this should provide a much needed boost to the sport’s popularity in this country.
I have reached out to ITV for an official comment, and have also asked whether this is a one-off deal, or if this is for the remainder of the season.
Update on March 3rd – ITV have today responded to my request for comment: “We only have rights to the highlights programmes and I can see that there are only 3 episodes. The one on the 12th March which is Mexico and there are 2 others but there is no schedule or location information attached to them at this moment in time. That isn’t unusual though as our schedules only show confirmed information for up to 10 days in advance.”
The way I am reading that is that it is a short term deal, to cover Mexico, Portugal and Argentina up to the beginning of May on the basis that there are three episodes. Alternatively, the other two episodes may be Mexico repeats. The e-mail does not give much away at the moment, if there is a deal in place for the remainder of the year, I would expect something to be made official in the next week.
Update on March 11th – Following rumours this past weekend, ITV have today told me: “We have been advised that we are due to transmit highlights from the rest of the season, which will be shown on Tuesday’s following the weekend event.”