Live TV dates confirmed for opening rounds of 2015 WRC
- 18th January 2015, 11:06pm
A minimum of 26 special stages from the FIA World Rally Championship will be broadcast on live television in 2015. The opening stage of the year at Rallye Monte-Carlo will launch the season’s content on Thursday 22 January. The programme from the 21.31km Alpine test from Entrevaux to Rouaine starts at 20.00 CET.
It will be followed by two shows from the 10.16km Col St Jean - St Laurent test on Sunday 25 January. The first programme starts at 09.30 CET with a second show at 12.00 CET, when the test will be driven for a second time and will form the rally-closing Power Stage.
Three live stages will be broadcast from Rally Sweden (12 - 15 February), starting with Thursday evening’s opening super special stage in Karlstad, where two cars at a time race side-by-side around an ice-bound horse trotting track.
That is followed by Saturday morning’s Vargåsen test, featuring the spectacular Colin’s Crest jump, named in honour of 1995 world champion Colin McRae, where cars fly through the air for many metres.
Sweden’s live coverage ends with the 15.87km Värmullsåsen Power Stage at Sunday lunchtime.
Rally Guanajuato Mexico’s (5 - 8 March) curtain-raising stage in the former mining tunnels of Guanajuato will be screened on Thursday evening. More than 50,000 fans will pack the town to watch the colourful start ceremony, after which competitors will tackle the test.
Both Saturday and Sunday’s El Brinco stages, high in the hot and dusty mountains, will also be broadcast.
Friday night’s fan-favourite super special stage in Villa Carlos Paz will be broadcast at Rally Argentina (23 - 26 April), along with Sunday’s Power Stage through the stunning scenery of El Condor.
Huge crowds, many of whom spend several days camping alongside the rocky tracks to ensure prime viewing points, perch high on El Condor’s roadside rocks to cheer on competitors.
The rally-ending Power Stage, which offers championship bonus points to the fastest three drivers, will be broadcast live at Sunday lunchtime (local time) from all 13 rounds.
All live stages will also be available via the championship’s interactive WRC+ digital service at www.wrcplus.com.
Oliver Ciesla, managing director of rights holder WRC Promoter, said there was an increased appetite for live action from the championship.
“There is a growing demand for live sports in HD quality in general, and our broadcast partners are asking for more live WRC coverage. That’s encouraging, especially for our fans who can see more of the drama and action from the championship on television as it happens.
“The excitement of the Power Stage, featuring the rally’s finale and podium, will be broadcast live from every round on Sunday lunchtime.
“Fans can make an appointment with the WRC at the same time for each round, knowing they can watch and enjoy the final outcome live. It’s the must-see programme of a WRC weekend,” added Ciesla.
Broadcast hours for WRC have continued to rise and were up 57 per cent in 2014 compared with the previous season. The average TV audience grew to more than 60 million per rally.
Live stage details of the first four rounds can be found below and for programme information, fans should consult their television guides.
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