FIA World Rallycross championship organisers have confirmed a new TV deal with Channel 4 in the United Kingdom which will see highlights packages scheduled directly before its Formula 1 coverage.

At the 2018 season launch at Silverstone, which will host the British round of the series for the first time, World RX managing director Paul Bellamy announced its new TV contract which sees the sport return to free-to-air broadcasting in the United Kingdom with a highlights package for each of the 12 rounds.

The highlights will be broadcast on the Saturday after each round takes place and is set to be scheduled just before the Channel 4’s F1 qualifying coverage.

“We will be showing a highlights package on Channel 4 the Saturday after the event which is fantastic as we get free-to-air with Channel 4 and they will take World Rallycross and lead it towards their Formula 1 audience,” Bellamy said. “That is a huge boost for the sport in the United Kingdom.”

Asked by whether it was an active push by the series to be scheduled alongside F1 to attract a wider audience, Bellamy said the decision was solely taken by Channel 4 to strengthen its motorsport broadcasting range.

“It is scheduling from Channel 4’s perspective,” he said. “We have been speaking to Channel 4 and a number of other broadcasters about taking the highlights package, a 48-minute highlights package is perfect for our sport, which is what a lot of broadcasters want.

“It was Channel 4’s decision and from a scheduling perspective they thought it would be a good idea and effectively bring together a motorsport audience and then pull them through to F1 by giving them something beforehand to keep them on their channel. I think by having a number of different championships they can keep their audience [for longer].”

It marks World RX’s return to free-to-air UK broadcasting for the first time since 2016 when Quest showed every round live while ITV4 and Eurosport broadcast a highlights package.

Channel 4’s F1 broadcasting deal, in which it shows half the races live and the other half as highlights, expires at the end of 2018 with Sky Sports starting an exclusive five-year TV deal from next season.