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Action-packed street rally hailed a boost for district's economy

PUBLISHED: 09:29 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:32 29 April 2019

The leading crew after two loops of stages Picture: ANDREW BISPING / CHELMSFORD MOTOR CLUB

The leading crew after two loops of stages Picture: ANDREW BISPING / CHELMSFORD MOTOR CLUB

ANDREW BISPING / CHELMSFORD MOTOR CLUB

April showers failed to dampen spirits as championship drivers thundered through Tendring for its second annual closed-roads street rally.

Rally drivers from around the world are in Tendring and Clacton today for the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCILRally drivers from around the world are in Tendring and Clacton today for the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Thousands of people were at the Essex coast yesterday cheering on competitors for the adrenalin-pumping Corbeau Seats Rally.

Bumper crowds were drawn to the seafront where a huge TV screen broadcasted the action live – a new feature which tourism chiefs said showcased the district to the world.

For challengers – who looped around the peninsula in four stages – there were more stage miles.

A third spectator area was also introduced this year, where people were able to get so close they could almost taste the action.

Final results from the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: ANDREW BISPINGFinal results from the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: ANDREW BISPING

MORE: Live pictures and video from the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019

Mike Carran, head of sport and leisure at Tendring District Council, said the second rally had been a great success.

“Once again there has been a great atmosphere across the district as the Corbeau Seats Rally returned to Tendring,” he said.

“Although the weather was not as brilliant this year as last, there were still thousands of people who turned out to watch at the spectator areas and at the service area on Clacton seafront.

“The live stream on YouTube also enabled our beautiful area to be showcased to many more people from further afield, and we hope they will feel inspired to come and visit and further boost our tourism economy.”

Cars are due to arrive back near Clacton's Martello Tower this morning before setting off on their second lap Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCILCars are due to arrive back near Clacton's Martello Tower this morning before setting off on their second lap Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

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During an awards ceremony on the seafront, the top three crews reflected on an “amazing weekend”.

Craig Jones had hoped he might make it into the top 10, but said he was “lost for words” at placing third overall.

Coming second, Mick O'Brien said: “The roads of Tendring and Clacton are a match for my native Ireland, one of the most recognised and respected areas for closed-road rallying.”

The inaugural Corbeau Seats Rally attracted bumper crowds to the Essex coastline Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCILThe inaugural Corbeau Seats Rally attracted bumper crowds to the Essex coastline Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Meanwhile winners Tom Preston and Carl Williamson said they were pushed hard all day – and were delighted to have completed the rally in challenging, changeable conditions.

“Spectators rewarded organisers' efforts and delighted the competing crews with their warm welcome around the route, with crews reporting lots of smiling faces and waving from the roadside,” said Chelmsford Motor Club's Andrew Bisping.

“Storm Hannah had largely passed through the area, but the rally had its fair share of April showers, which made trying to choose the correct tyres crucial to achieving competitive times, before the sunshine and showers returned.

“The spectators were clear they hope the rally will be back in 2020.”

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Clacton today for the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCILThousands of people are expected to descend on Clacton today for the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 Picture: WILL LODGE/TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

The inaugural rally in 2018 was the very first in England to take place on closed roads.

After a ceremonial start on Saturday evening, Clacton MP Giles Watling, flagged away all the cars on Sunday morning.

See live pictures and video from the 2019 event here.

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