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JANUARY 15, 2001

ITV deny Blundell rumors

ITV SPORT have denied speculation that Mark Blundell will be taking over Murray Walker's role as commentator when he retires at the end of the 2001 season.

Blundell, who was driving in the American-based ChampCars series last year, had been tipped to work alongside Walker during the coming season as he prepared to take the reins in 2002.

But ITV Sport said that Blundell was not being lined up as a replacement for Walker, although he will be invited to appear in the studio to give analysis alongside presenter Jim Rosenthal.

Paul Tirrol, a spokesperson for ITV Sport, said: "Mark Blundell will not be providing commentary for us next season - and he will not be taking over when Murray retires.

"There is a possibility that Mark will be doing some work with us, but it will not be commentating. He could be working in the studio as a guest alongside Jim Rosenthal and Tony Jardine as long as he is free to do that."

James Allen, who is currently the pit-lane reporter for ITV, is well placed to take over from Walker, and could work at the side of Walker at a number of events this year.

Tirrol added: "James Allen is definitely in line to get the job in 2002. He is well placed and will get an opportunity ahead of, and before anybody else."