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Eurosport closing on World Rally Championship TV deal

Dani Sordo, Mini, Monte Carlo 2012Eurosport appears to be edging closer to agreeing a deal with the FIA to screen the World Rally Championship.

WRC manager Michele Mouton, Eurosport motorsport business director Francois Ribeiro and the FIA's director of marketing Alex Gueschir have been meeting with World Rally Championship stakeholders in Valence today and expect to be in a position to make an announcement in coming days.

Ribeiro said: "We should be able to talk about the TV distribution before the end of the weekend. We hope this will be an announcement about the rest of the season."

David Richards, head of the Prodrive firm that runs Mini's WRC programme, said he wanted further discussions with the FIA and Eurosport before any decisions were taken.

"I would hope there would be further engagement with the manufacturers before anything is finalised," he said. "The teams have got views and can make a contribution, a positive contribution to the process and I'd like to think the teams will be consulted before anything is finalised.

"Personally, I don't think it's appropriate to be making an announcement before the weekend, there are too many things to talk about. We want a promoter that's totally focused on the task and has the resources to do the job."

There are strong rumours that Eurosport will run the television filming and distribution, while the FIA will promote the series. Richards said he was happy with the latter part of that possible agreement.

"I'd be very comfortable with [the FIA promoting WRC] in certain guise," he added, "but the TV is the key driver for everybody at the moment.

"And to have a broadcaster [Eurosport] who has a primary interest in his own broadcast rights clearly conflicts with the teams who want to see the broadest possible use [of footage] on terrestrial TV."

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