MOTOR fans turned out in force for the return of the Corbeau Seats Rally to Tendring.

This year’s event, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, opened the 2022 Motorsport UK British Rally Championship.

Following a two-year break due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the rally returned with a new twilight spectator stage ton Clacton seafront.

Spokesman Andrew Bisping said: “The rally lived up to the Sunshine Coast label all weekend long and it was wonderful to be back in Clacton and Tendring.

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Winners - Osian Price and Noel O’Sullivan

“Bringing live action into Clacton itself was very popular with local residents.

“They were lined three and four deep along the cliff top railings for the Saturday evening stages, running beyond sunset with the backdrop of the pier lights.

“Sundays stages in the lanes showcased intense competition as the British Rally Championship joined the rally for the first time.

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The Corbeau Seats Rally. Picture: Steve Brading

“The spectator areas were a family friendly place to visit with children and dog enjoying the sunshine and views and in many cases their first experience of the sport with commentary at Ship Hill to introduce them to rallying.

“The messages of thanks and appreciating that are coming in from local people are heartwarming and much appreciated.

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Busy - crowds on Clacton seafront

“The organising team and marshals, numbering many hundred are all volunteers.

“We’re really grateful to the Clacton and Tendring communities for the warm welcome and hospitality.”

As well as the new Clacton stage, the cars completed loops of closed road stages, with viewing areas in Ship Hill, Bradfield, and Wick Road, Great Bentley, on Sunday.

The rally was won by Osian Price and Noel O’Sullivan by just 5.4 seconds.

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Twilight - Gazette camer club member Michael Simmans took this image on Clacton seafront

Pryce said: “I really enjoyed the weekend – it’s a completely different challenge to anything else in the country.”

“The roads are unique to the UK but were quite similar to stages you see in France or Belgium.

“It’s nice to go somewhere new, see thousands of people enjoying the event and having a good time.”

The only female pairing to take place in the race was Laura Cooledge and Laura Christmas, who’s red Mini was sponsored by East Coast Distillery in Landermere, Thorpe-le-Soken.

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Race team - Laura Cooledge and Laura Christmas​

Ben Mann, from the firm, said: “Flying the flag for women and girls is so important, particularly in sports or industries that are still so dominated by men.”