After coming ever so close to winning the title in various categories, Boris Carminati used all his experience to claim his maiden crown in the Clio R3T Trophy France. The Montpellier native looks back on this achievement and his next challenge: the 2020 Monte-Carlo Rally.
Since his debut in 2002, Boris Carminati has built a strong reputation in the service areas. After quickly winning in a Renault 5 GT Turbo, he moved onto the Clio Cup Rallye series in which he finished fourth in 2005 and third in 2006 before he went on to make a name for himself in other feeder series.
In 2018, he returned to Renault, to become the only man to beat Florian Bernardi in the Clio R3T Trophy France. This performance made him odds on favourite for the title his year.
"Of course, there’s always pressure being a favourite", he says. “It was expected of us and everyone’s expectations had to be met, including those of our partners. The first rally went really well. It was an important win, secured at the end of one of our most compete weekends of the season. By winning in the season-opener, the Lyon-Charbonnières, we put the pressure on the shoulders of our rivals... But it returned after our misadventure on the Vosges that rapidly brought us back down to earth!”
While in the lead after the first four stages of the Rallye Vosges Grand-Est, Boris Carminati made one of his rare missteps and retired after going off the road.
“It was really our only mistake on the rally”, remembers the driver codriven by Marine Lacruz. “Everything was going very well. We had a lead; I was confident and there wasn’t a single alert... I was going perhaps 5kph too fast into a corner that slightly tightened at the entry to a wet underwood and we ended up in the trees. To tell you the truth, I still don’t understand!”
Still in the lead of the general classification, Boris Carminati decided to bank points at the following rounds. Third on Rallye Aveyron Rouergue Occitanie, he then finished runner-up on Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine in what was a hotly contested season to that point with four different winners in the first four rounds.
The penultimate outing on the calendar at the Rallye Cœur de France let the title race settle down as Boris Carminati won ahead of his last remaining rival, Romain Di Fante.
“After the Vosges, we had to be serious on the Rouergue without going flat-out”, he says. “The return at Mont-Blanc began a strong run and experience probably made the difference. We had to manage the conditions on the Cœur de France and it was an important win for us because it allowed us to pull out a small lead while also striking a blow to our rivals."
The Rallye du Var was also held in terrible weather. Trailing early, Boris Carminati reclaimed the lead on the drenched roads before the interruption of the second day. However, his performance forced his rival to take all the risks to catch up with him, but to no avail.
“This title is above else a terrific personal satisfaction”, he adds. “I came close several times when I was younger. Of course, it’s better to win a promotion formula at 22 or 23 than when you’re 38, but I’m still really proud!"
“Right from the start of the year, I said Romain was going to be the toughest rival”, he continues. “Romain is a young guy who is very fast. We knew this and he had already proved it in the past. He was fast right away, but it took him two rallies to stop making mistakes. He is an easy-going guy who I was really delighted to be able to take on this year in a fantastic atmosphere with all the other crews. It was a great year in terms of the competition, both sportingly and humanly, and the list would be long if I had to name more than one!’
Thanks to his title, Boris Carminati will compete in the 2020 Monte-Carlo Rally (23-26 January) at the wheel of a Renault Clio R3T. This will be an opportunity to take on a new challenge.
"I think it’s a dream that every French driver would like to fulfill", he concludes. “We will try to prepare this rally as best as we can and do everything for it to go well with the support of a terrific team. There will be no pressure nor result target as I have no experience in the snow. The goal will be to compete in these four great days of racing and to be in Monaco on the Sunday!"