ANCRO, the organisers of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, have announced that they have struck a deal which will see the National Rally Championship back on television screens this season.
Traditionally always well covered by television, sadly, due to budgetary restrictions as a result of the current economic climate, it wasn't possible to provide full coverage of all events this season but following a deal with rallying specialists Acceleration Television, they will cover this month's Pro-Art Signs Swansea Bay Rally which takes place on Saturday 18 July.
"It is good to see the Championship back on TV, as rally fans have missed seeing the action since Rallye Sunseeker,” said Rick Smith, marketing director of the Association of National Championship Rally Organisers (ANCRO). “WRC action seems remote these days, so to see similar cars in the UK forests is a bonus indeed. ANCRO thanks all the commercial partners who have made this happen."
David Winstanley, managing director of Acceleration Television, added: "We're delighted to be filming the Pro-Art Signs Swansea Bay Rally on behalf of ANCRO, and are really pleased that this venture has been supported by the both the competitors in the Pirelli MSA Gravel Championship series as well as the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge and the Peugeot/BMW Championship organisers.
"For us the ANCRO series should provide some of the most spectacular and entertaining rally television with its mixture of WRC cars and interesting characters competing over some of the UK's best rally stages and hopefully our one-hour stand alone coverage of the Swansea Bay Rally will reflect this.
"On a personal note, the ANCRO series has always been one of my favourites and back in the mid-nineties we regularly included rounds of the championship in our monthly rally video, Acceleration, when Chris Mellors was dominant, so it will be good to be out filming the events again and meeting old friends like Marcus Dodd and seeing newer characters like Paul Bird and Steve Perez whose private battles in their Ford Focuses are becoming such a strong feature of this championship."
Acceleration Television is best known for its coverage of long distance rallying on events such as the London to Sydney Marathon and classic events such as the Classic Marathon and the Winter Trail, but their coverage of individual events like the Roger Albert Clark Rally and SOL Rally Barbados has been particularly praiseworthy.
Actual television dates and times will be finalised shortly but it is hoped that there will be terrestrial as well as satellite coverage and organisers are hopeful the deal can be extended to cover future events in the 2009 championship.