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Ford Focus WRC - click for high-res image gallery

"Gentlemen, start your DVRs!"

Anyone that has ever watched a major league rally event knows that this form of motorsports is perhaps the most engaging form of four-wheeled competition in the world. Nothing compares to standing in a forest and watching these high-powered monsters blasting down a dirt road – sideways – at ridiculous speeds. While most people can't head out into the woods for a rally, watching the World Rally Championship on a big screen in the glory that is high definition broadcasting might be the next best thing. That's where the Discovery Channel's HD Theater comes in.

Starting October 4, HD Theater will run 17 hours of fresh WRC programming. In fact, that Saturday afternoon and evening there will be six solid hours of action. Following that, every Sunday night at 8 pm through December, the channel will feature a one hour wrap of one of the season's rallies. Check out the high-res gallery below as well as the full schedule and a video trailer after the jump for more details.

[Source: HD Theater]



FIA World Rally Championship Returns To U.S. With 17 Hours of Exclusive Coverage on HD Theater

HD Theater expands its high-octane programming by reintroducing American audiences to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Starting Sunday, October 4, HD Theater launches its coverage with six new hours of action-packed rally racing programming - culminating with the U.S. premiere of 2009's first WRC event, RALLY IRELAND, at 8 PM ET. The block of programming will immerse HD Theater's audience into the adrenaline-fuelled world of the WRC.

The FIA World Rally Championship is an epic motorsport adventure, pitting man and machine against nature. Over a grueling 10 month schedule, the world's greatest drivers and the most advanced rally cars take on some of the most challenging terrain that nature has to offer. Across twelve events spanning three continents, biting cold, driving rain and scorching heat combine with dirt, asphalt, gravel, snow and ice roads to present an electrifying, high-speed challenge that is unmatched in motorsports. These drivers assault treacherous mountain passes, winding back country roads and narrow forest paths at breakneck speeds exceeding 120 mph. HD Theater presents their exclusive U.S. coverage of the 2009 WRC with the following programming schedule:

"World Rally Madness" Programming Block

Sunday, October 4 from 3-9 PM ET


This episode profiles the most challenging events from the history of rallying.


Viewers ride along as the legends of the WRC are pushed to the limit and beyond by some of the most spectacular and technical stages on the rally racing circuit.


The machines are the stars of this episode, which showcases the greatest rally cars of all time.


Even the best make mistakes and in the WRC, those mistakes can be stunning. This program counts down the most exciting crashes in rallying history.


This episode introduces viewers to the drivers, manufacturers and events that will make up the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship.


The 2009 WRC kicks off with a monumental challenge: 217 miles of impossibly narrow, rain-slicked country roads through both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These tight and serpentine stages take drivers through the Sligo Mountains and Fermanagh Lakelands where, in places, the narrow roads are little more than the width of a car.


Sunday, October 11 from 8-9 PM ET

As an all-snow event, RALLY NORWAY is a technical challenge for drivers, who must account for the snow and ice using steel-spiked tires. Roadside snow-banks offer a cushion for the lack of grip, but may be as dangerous as they are helpful. Hamar, Norway is home for this rally, which runs through the same mountains as the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in nearby Lillehammer.


Sunday, October 18 from 8-9 PM ET

Based on the south side of Cyprus, this mixed-surface rally combines asphalt and gravel stages to crown the FxPro CYPRUS RALLY champion. The Troodos Mountains challenge drivers as they take on the twists and turns of mountain roads and gravel paths during the three days of action.


Sunday, October 25 from 8-9 PM ET

Portugal's long rallying tradition is on display during the Vodafone RALLY DE PORTUGAL, a gravel event that is widely considered one of the most notorious and difficult rallies on the schedule. Both the Algarve and Alentejo regions host stages in Southern Portugal, as this event attracts some of the largest and most unruly crowds within the series.


Sunday, November 1 from 8-9 PM ET

With the series' first trip outside of Europe, RALLY ARGENTINA is held in the area around Villa Carlos Paz in the heart of the Cordobese Sierras on narrow, sloped roads best known for their spectacular water splashes. The high-speed action takes place across open plains featuring sandy river crossings and high-altitude landscapes that resemble the surface of the moon.


Sunday, November 8 from 8-9 PM ET

Sardinia is now home to the RALLY D'ITALIA, where the stages are made up of fine and sandy gravel that is surprisingly fast, given the course's tight and narrow nature. The stunning landscape for the opening two days of the rally crosses Olbia-Tempio, Nuoro, Sassari and Goceano before the competition heads north to the opulent Costa Smerelda region.


Sunday, November 15 from 8-9 PM ET

As one of the longest-standing events in world rallying, ACROPOLIS RALLY OF GREECE is a mix of rough, curvy mountain stages with blistering heat and choking dust. The undersides of the car take a pounding from the rocks hurled up by the wheels, and tire wear is an especially big issue for teams to overcome at this event.


Sunday, November 22 from 8-9 PM ET

After not being included in the WRC for over 35 years, Poland's most prestigious motorsport event celebrates its 66th anniversary with a return to the top level of rallying. The Mazurian Lakes District provides an exceptional backdrop to these spectacular gravel stages, where the WRC regular drivers are challenged by experienced Polish drivers racing in their backyard.


Sunday, November 29 from 8-9 PM ET

As one of the biggest annual events in Scandinavia with over 500,000 spectators, Neste Oil RALLY FINLAND features high-speed runs along tree-lined tracks, peppered with high-flying jumps that demand absolute commitment. Located in central Finland, this rally requires efficient technique to cope with the high speeds and mammoth jumps that litter the loose-surfaced gravel stages.


Sunday, December 6 from 8-9 PM ET

WRC heads down under to the new base of Repco RALLY AUSTRALIA in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. The hard-packed gravel stages located in the Kyogle, Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby regions will be a new and unfamiliar challenge compared to the rally's historic stages on red earth and ball-bearing-like gravel roads near Perth.


Sunday, December 13 from 8-9 PM ET

Providing some of the fastest stages of the series, the sweeping asphalt roads of the Tarragona region southwest of Barcelona play home to the RACC RALLYE DE ESPAÑA. As the penultimate round of the WRC series, this rally plays a critical role in the overall championship with only one event left in the schedule.


Sunday, December 20 from 8-9 PM ET

As the final rally of the season, RALLY GB is one of the oldest rallies in the world and is hosted in Cardiff, Wales. This spectator-friendly event runs through gravel forest roads that often become wet and slippery. The event also features stages on the exposed military land to the north of Brecon, which is prone to fog that can wreak havoc on drivers' ability to navigate turns.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP programming is produced by International Sportsworld Communicators Ltd - A North One Television Company. For HD Theater, Sean McKnight is executive producer, Bob Scanlon is vice president of production and development, and Clark Bunting is president and general manager.

About FIA World Rally Championship:

In 2008, WRC was covered by 188 countries via 228 broadcasters, with a total audience of over 633 million plus 12 million visitors to wrc.com. 2009 will see a total of 12 rallies staged across the world in Ireland, Norway, Cyprus, Portugal, Argentina, Italy, Greece, Poland, Finland, Australia, Spain and Great Britain. For more information please visit www.wrc.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I cannot confirm the Saturday schedule on HD Theater website.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who even has this channel? Doesn't seem to be on Uverse.

        • 5 Years Ago
        It's on DirecTV as well...

        Uverse: HD Theater 1102

        If you don't have it, you really should order it. If for no other reasons: WRC and the Isle of Man TT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL 'crackin'. He does say it alot. Yeah I have Uverse and watch HD Theater alot for the car shows.

        Saw the commercial last night for the WRC coverage and made the wife STFU so I could drool in peace and quiet to the magnificence that was WRC in HD on my TV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's on FIOS and I believe comcast as well
        • 5 Years Ago
        Time Warner Cable has it. I watch it all the time. Wheeler Dealers and Auto Trader FTW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We have a Wheeler Dealer drinking game. You have to drink every time Mike uses the word "cracking". Or whenever Ed mentions his parts cleaner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think it's available on Starchoice / Shaw Digital.

      Couldn't you out put from an HD receiver to an SD TV?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, but you get a letterbox effect and, depending on the SDTV, the image gets distorted a bit. Not really enough to make it unwatchable, but it's definitely not the ideal way to watch...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm really looking forward to the WRC coverage on HD Theater. I think a couple of weeks ago they had vintage racing from the Nurburgring on so it looks like this is a promising channel.

      I echo the thoughts on this being the channel that SPEED should be. I was shocked to see that this Saturday SPEED is interrupting 10 hours of NASCAR, Pinks, Wrecked, and other crap to show The Petite LeMans race flag to flag.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So excited to have coverage back on TV and in HD to boot!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone know where to stream this online? My campus doesn't have HD ANYTHING...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm going to try to catch it just to see what it looks like in HD. But, don't really follow WRC anymore. Maybe will start again once all the manufacturers decide to come back.
      Same thing for F1, maybe i'll start watching that after all the drama settles.
      F.I.A = Retarded.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am literally going to weep over not having an HDTV right now. I have been dying for WRC TV coverage since Speed channel killed it years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago

        This could be the motivation I need to bite the bullet and buy a new TV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i so so so so hope someone starts putting this up as a torrent. Being at school with no HD channels = bummer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Best news ever. October 4th can't come soon enough. Speed went downhill once they dumped WRC. This is awesome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        SPEED is now the NASCAR channel... or should be anyway. I'm from the south, I've been to a Sprint Cup race, I like to sit and drink beer and all... but I just don't "get" NASCAR/Sprint Cup/whatever the hell.

        Only two road courses a year? Maximum of, what, 12 turns? I'm sorry but count me out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't get it, why would anyone prefer to watch WRC over NASCAR????

      Hehehe, it was hard to not laugh to myself while typing that.
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