The highly anticipated duel between Boris Carminati and Romain Di Fante on the roads of the Rallye Cœur de France lived up to all its promise. Trailing his rival on the first leg, Boris Carminati used all his experience to become the first two-time winner this season. The two will now battle for the title on the Rallye du Var (22-24 November).

On Saturday morning, Romain Di Fante and Boris Carminati moved to the shard end of the order when the former took the lead with a 3.6s lead from his rival while the special stages in the Vendôme region soon claimed its first victims.

Sébastien Blondel got caught out on SS1 before Willy Mathey and Jérémy Jamet retired on the longest test of the rally, Bessé-sur-Braye. Third after SS1, Václav Stejskal Jr. also saw his day come to an end when he went off the road.

Meanwhile, Romain Di Fante extended his lead to 8.4s before Boris Carminati responded. The Nice-based driver went quickest on the repeat run of Bessé-sur-Braye, where he began set the first of three consecutive scratch times to stretch his lead over the Montpelier native to 15.6s

In the night loop, Boris Carminati went on the offensive, taking more than 10 seconds on SS8 before Romain Di Fante took his sixth stage victory. At the end of the first leg, Romain Di Fante had a 4.9s lead from Boris Carminati. Third place Mathieu Walter trailed by more than a minute, but had a more than 90-second advantage over Dorian Nicolas.

Sunday morning, the duel entered a new phase when Romain Di Fante drove straight into a field. Relegated to 39.6s to his adversary, Romain Di Fante immediately went on the attack, but was penalised 20 seconds for checking in late for the start of SS11.

With more than a minute lead after his best time on SS12, Boris Carminati managed his advantage on the final two stages and became the first two-time winner of the season in the Clio R3T Trophy France. Junior category driver, Romain Di Fante finished 40.9s adrift while Mathieu Walter finished third at 1:45.5s.

Fourth place Dorian Nicolas was followed by Gentleman driver Philippe Rageau who held off Julien Brégeon, who posted best time on the Super Savigny super-special stage. Yoann Lambert won his mano-a-mano for seventh place with Éric Filippi while Christophe Herbelin and Václav Stejskal Jr. completed the top ten.

Boris Carminati extended his lead to 12 points over Romain Di Fante in the general classification when dropping each driver’s worst result. Romain Di Fante is now assured of finishing the season as the top Junior. The duel for the title already promises to be a thriller on the Rallye du Var (22-24 November)!

Boris Carminati: “It was tight with Romain and myself, but we put our past experience to good use. The Cœur de France is similar to the Touquet and reminds me of my mistakes as a young driver when I pushed too much. Although it was important to be fast on Saturday, I preferred to be clever on Sunday with the rainy conditions. It paid off because we stayed on the road to do our general classification hopes a lot of good. Romain is no longer in control of his fate and we don’t have to finish ahead of him so we will be able to focus on our race and our pace in Var. There will be a season to conclude, but it would be great to be on the podium in the final round of the Clio R3T Trophy France!”

Clio R3T Trophy France – Rallye Cœur de France
1. Boris Carminati — Marine Lacruz 2h04:59.1s
2. Romain Di Fante — Patrick Chiappe (J) +40.9s
3. Mathieu Walter — Thibault Raincourt +1:45.5s
4. Dorian Nicolas — Mathieu Romeuf +4:00.2s
5. Philippe Rageau — Romain Rageau (G) +5:26.7s
6. Julien Brégeon — Amélie Arrive +5:33.4s
7. Yoann Lambert — Fabien Yonnet +12:01.1s
8. Éric Filippi — Francis Mazzotti (G) +15:03.9s
9. Christophe Herbelin — Anthony Chandelier (G) +19:40.5s
10. Václav Stejskal Jr — Stanislav Viktora Jr (J) +4h50:39.4s
Ret. Willy Mathey — Brice Ricou (G)
Ret. Jérémy Jamet — Marine Journet (J)
Ret. Sébastien Blondel – Nicolas Blondel (J)

Clio R3T Trophy France - General Classification
1. Boris Carminati, 98 points (97)
2. Romain Di Fante (J), 92 points (85)
3. Dorian Nicolas, 52 points
4. Mathieu Walter, 48 points
5. Cédric Noe, 38 points
6. Jérémy Jamet (J), 37 points
7. Ivan Ferrarotti, 36 points
8. Alexis Frontier (J), 30 points
9. Olivier Courtois (G), 24 points
10. William Pitot (J), 18 points
11. Guillaume Jean, 15 points
12. Julien Brégeon, 15 points
13. Philippe Rageau (G), 14 points
14. José Javier Pérez (J), 9 points
15. Damien Tozlanian, 9 points
16. Yoann Lambert, 7 points
17. Éric Filippi (G), 4 points
18. Christophe Herbelin (G), 2 points
19. Pascal Bérard (G), 1 point
20. Václav Stejskal Jr (J), 1 point
21. Charlotte Berton (F), 0 point
22. David Duc (G), 0 point
23. Dominique Patenotte (G), 0 point
24. Pascal Aimé (G), 0 point
25. Keana Erickson-Chang (F), 0 point
26. Raphaël Marry (G), 0 point
27. Guy Bertrand (G), 0 point
28. Franck Badel, 0 point
29. Antoine Delaroche-Foucauld, 0 point
30. Mathieu Viscuso, 0 point
31. Willy Mathey (G), 0 point
32. Sébastien Blondel (J), 0 point