Boris Carminati versus Romain Di Fante, this is the duel shaping up at the top of the Clio R3T Trophy France order. But their rivals are not about to throw in the towel during the running of the Rallye Cœur de France (27-29 Septembrer), where New Clio Rally and the 2020 trophy calendar in which it will compete will be announced.
The final edition of the Clio R3T Trophy France has been undoubtedly the most competitive in its history and it is impossible to predict the outcome of this season in which four different crews have won in as many rounds!
Boris Carminati has led the way since the opening stage of the season thanks to consistency highlighted by two podium results in addition to his one victory. Since the return from the summer break, however, the Montpellier native has reason for concern after Romain Di Fante beat him on Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine to cut the lead to a single point.
The duel promises to be particularly uncertain for this penultimate round of the year. While both drivers have 19 stage wins each, Boris Carminati has a slight experience advantage with two podium finishes in this round in Clio Cup Rally in 2005 and 2006!
For his part, Romain Di Fante can count on his ascending learning curve, as well as the mettle that has seen him score more best performer points than anyone else in 2019.
The two leading contenders also need to keep an eye on their other title rivals. Dorian Nicolas is aiming for a return to the top three in his maiden Cœur de France, as is Jérémy Jamet, who for a long time was in contention for the win at Morzine. The stakes are double for Jérémy Jamet, who also has to make up ground to Junior category leader, Romain Di Fante.
Several challenges await them on the roads around Vendôme, beginning with a high-quality list of competitors. Runner-up last year, Mathieu Walter is extremely motivated to return to the top step of the podium after a rather discreet run since his victory in the Vosges.
Several returns are also worth noting. Václav Stejskal Jr comes back to the round where he made his Clio R3T Trophy France debut and will try to improve upon his fifth-place result last year. Julien Bregeon was sixth in 2018 and is now accompanied by a new co-driver.
With Olivier Courtois sitting out, some Gentleman category competitors could stand out. Second in the 2014 Challenge Renault and fifth in the 2017 Clio R3T Trophy France, Philippe Rageau wants to make the most of his seven participations in the rally to catch up to the Alsace native ahead of the season-finale Rallye du Var. In the top ten of the past editions, Éric Filippi and Christophe Herbelin also want to highlight their progress with solid runs this weekend.
Yoann Lambert will also look to improve upon his best result while two drivers are about to take on the challenge of one of the most competitive feeder series in France: Sébastien Blondel, who has won several times in his category in the French Cup with a Clio R3T, and the experienced Willy Mathey, who has raced for more than 20 years in an array of Renault rally cars.
The Rallye Cœur de France starts Saturday morning. 14 special stages are scheduled, including nine and a night loop on day one. On Sunday, five other tests will lead to the finish after a significantly longer competitive route around Vendôme than last year with 204.47km of competition on a 555.39km itinerary.
Clio R3T Trophy France – Entry list
#21 Boris Carminati — Marine Lacruz
#22 Romain Di Fante — Patrick Chiappe (J)
#23 Dorian Nicolas — Mathieu Romeuf
#24 Jérémy Jamet — Marine Journet (J)
#25 Mathieu Walter — Thibault Raincourt
#26 Sébastien Blondel — Nicolas Blondel (J)
#27 Julien Bregeon — Amélie Arrive
#28 Philippe Rageau — Romain Rageau (G)
#29 Václav Stejskal Jr — Stanislav Viktora Jr (J)
#30 Yoann Lambert — Fabien Yonnet
#31 Éric Filippi — Francis Mazzotti (G)
#32 Christophe Herbelin — Anthony Chandelier (G)
#33 Willy Mathey — Brice Ricou (G)