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New WRC era is ready for blast-off in Monte-Carlo

The 2017 WRC will generate more TV content than ever. Over 12,000 hours were broadcast globally in 2016 to a cumulative audience of over 700 million people and this season offers even more for fans.


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The build-up and fever pitch expectation is almost over as this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 – 22 January) heralds the start of one of the most keenly-anticipated FIA World Rally Championship seasons in memory.

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Dynamic new-look World Rally Cars will echo through the mountains of the French Alps as four of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers begin the fight for supremacy in motorsport’s toughest championship for production-based cars.

The 13-round series spans four continents in an 11-month global tour, encompassing extreme temperatures that can reach a scorching 35°C in Sardinia and plunge to a bone-chilling -25°C in the harsh Swedish winter.

Much is new for 2017, and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla believes the powerful and aggressive cars, developed from a blank sheet of paper to upgraded regulations, will be the stars of the show.

“Our fans are going to love the 2017 WRC! Footage from pre-season testing shows just how exciting these new cars are. A more macho appearance and increased performance will bring smiles to fans’ faces, whether they are watching stage side or on television,” he said.

“There’s a hugely positive feeling throughout the WRC family as we head into the season. The series boasts big names from the automotive industry, and it’s a compliment to the championship’s development that they have chosen to showcase their cars in an environment that offers global visibility from January to November.

“What is so great is the feeling of unpredictability about 2017 because nobody knows which teams, which cars or which drivers will shine. New rules, such as the start order and revised Power Stage points, have been put in place to ensure down-to-the-wire competition and I’m sure we will see many thrilling battles,” he said.

The Teams
Toyota, the world’s biggest selling car manufacturer, returns to the WRC after a 17-year absence. The Japanese giant is joined by multiple champion Citroën, which is back after a year’s sabbatical. Ford, in the guise of the British M-Sport team, and Hyundai, runners-up in both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ series in 2016, complete a stellar line-up.

The Cars
Aggressive, loud and moody – they are the new lightweight World Rally Cars that will battle for tenths of a second on dirt, asphalt, snow and ice.

They are bigger everywhere with larger bumpers at the front and rear and extended door sills which increase the width and provide increased safety. Larger aero devices, and more of them, including a huge spoiler and diffuser at the rear and a front splitter add to the ‘bulldog’ look.

Beneath the bonnet a wider restrictor on the turbocharger increases power from the 1600cc direct injection engine to 380PS. Electronic trickery in the form of an active central differential gives drivers a helping hand in balancing their cars.

The Drivers
The biggest news of the short end-of-year break was the decision of four-time world champion Sébastien Ogier to sign for M-Sport, for whom he will carry #1 on the doors of his Fiesta WRC. The Frenchman is joined by rising star Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans.

Toyota has opted for an all-Finnish line-up of Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi, while Citroën has chosen the youth of Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre to join lead driver Kris Meeke.

There are no changes at Hyundai which has kept faith with its strong 2016 squad of Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo.

The Rallies
The championship comprises the same 13 demanding rounds as in 2016, but the order has been given a reshuffle. Corsica moves forward from September to April to provide a better balance of gravel and asphalt rounds. Monte-Carlo opens the season and Australia provides the finale.

Two rallies have changed their structure. Rally Sweden will operate around a central location at Torsby, while ADAC Rallye Deutschland has a new base at Bostalsee in northern Saarland.

Television
The 2017 WRC will generate more TV content than ever. Over 12,000 hours were broadcast globally in 2016 to a cumulative audience of over 700 million people and this season offers even more for fans.

The Sunday lunchtime rally-ending Power Stage programme, now established as a firm fixture across all rounds, will increase from 60 to 90 minutes. It will feature more interviews, extended coverage of the podium ceremony and reaction to the final result from the service park. Also new for this year is another regular live stage on Saturday afternoons.

Watch every stop of the WRC live on Red Bull TV this season. 


 

 

How will defending champion Seb Ogier perform in his first race for M-Sport?

Thu-Sun, Jan 19-22 – Text, photos & videos – Live on Red Bull TV

Mon, Jan 23 – Behind the scenes round up.

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2017 World Rally Championship live on Red Bull TV

The daily show from Friday to Sunday will be available to watch entirely free of charge on www.redbull.tv, via your mobile, laptop or smart television, or on the dedicated Red Bull TV app, available both for iPhone and Android.

 

With non-stop action on snow, mud, tarmac and gravel, the FIA World Rally Championship radiates automotive adrenalin – and next year it will be seen for the first time live on Red Bull TV. The ground-breaking premiere takes place on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January, ushering in a new era of unique coverage from Red Bull TV.

Red Bull TV will be broadcasting live on Saturday from each event and will host three stunning new daily shows that feature all the action as it happens, including a unique highlights round up. Co-presenting the action will be some of the biggest personalities in motorsport, lending a unique perspective to every rally. The first guest will be former F1 and Le Mans driver Mark Webber in Monaco.

The daily show from Friday to Sunday will be available to watch entirely free of charge on www.redbull.tv, via your mobile, laptop or smart television, or on the dedicated Red Bull TV app, available both for iPhone and Android. Next year’s programmes promise a fresh and exciting approach to the World Rally Championship, as the sport itself enters a new era with more powerful and radical-looking cars, as well as new manufacturers entering the series.

The spectacle is going to be mind-blowing as the drivers fight for tenths of a second from Monte-Carlo to Australia over the 13 rounds of the championship. And Red Bull TV will be there to capture all the drama, from temperatures of minus 25 degrees centigrade in Sweden to plus 35 in Mexico. There will be dedicated presenters, news, interviews, features and gossip, setting new standards in WRC broadcasting.

Every Friday on each rally, a 20 to 30-minute highlight show will be broadcast at 10pm (CET) that rounds up all the action from the first leg of each event, with an intro and latest news direct from the service park – exclusive to Red Bull TV.

Saturday brings more live action than has ever been seen before, with two shows. The first will run at midday for 75 minutes, featuring a live stage for viewers to follow the action in real time from both inside and outside the cars. At 10pm (CET) there will be another 20 to 30-minute show, with all the highlights of the day.

Sunday evening hosts a comprehensive wrap-up show lasting 30-40 minutes, presented from the service park and recounting all the events that have taken place throughout the event. All these shows will also be available to watch on-demand on Red Bull TV once the rally has finished.

Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, a long-time Red Bull athlete since 2008, commented: “It’s really exciting to know that the WRC will be broadcast on Red Bull TV next year! So fans can have a chance to see the best coverage of some of the rallies when it suits them, which is really great. There’s always this exciting feeling around Red Bull because they do things differently and I’m sure that this will be the case for the new TV programme as well.”

The broadcast package put in place by Red Bull TV for the WRC will include a number of special features and ways of presenting that haven’t been seen before, making viewers feel closer to the high-octane action than ever.

The 2017 World Rally Championship gets underway in just five weeks with Rallye Monte-Carlo: the oldest and most prestigious event in the sport that forms a baptism of fire for the new generation of World Rally Cars – as well as a stunning premiere for Red Bull TV’s WRC coverage.

The first dedicated WRC programme to go out on Red Bull TV is scheduled for Friday 20 January 2017 at 10pm (CET), summarising the action so far on the Rallye Monte-Carlo.

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