Results from stage one of the 2023 Sonora Rally, round three of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship in Mexico where “privateer” Honda rider Tosha Schareina has taken the scalps of the W2RC elite with a win six seconds faster than Daniel Sanders.

Though his name has been dropped off the official communications from the World Rally-Raid Championship, there’s no denying the winner of stage one at the 2023 Sonora Rally.

Spaniard Tosha Schareina might be not classified under the world championship results but definitely  tops the race classification ahead of the best riders in the world.

Handed a ride with the Honda team (not the official Monster Energy HRC Rally team but in a tent close by), Schareina clocked a total of 1 hour 33 minutes and 25 seconds on the 170 kilometres stage. 


“It felt like enduro”

Second on the day was Daniel Sanders, topping a number of riders both here in Sonora desert for eh first time and returning from injury so getting back in the swing of racing and reading roadbooks.

Just six seconds separated Sanders and Schareina after what was actually quite a short hour and a half of racing. “It was a good day for me.” Chucky explained. “I started back in 13th and was a little unsure about the dust as it looked really dry on the fast tracks. I got into a nice rhythm in the tighter, flowing corners, so some of what we rode felt a little like enduro.

“I caught up to Kevin (Benavides) and managed to get past him and away from his dust. It was nice to get out into a desert that I’ve not raced in before and start learning what it’s like.”


Third on the day and second Honda rider just 41 seconds back from Tosha, Pablo Quintanilla found some familiar terrain to his homelands. The Chilean managed the early kilometres well when navigation through the scrub and bushes, plus dust, was catching others out: “It was not an easy day, the first part of the stage had a lot of navigation in the vegetation and sometimes it was hard to see the piste.” Says Pablo. “I tried to find a good rhythm and honestly I felt good. It is not easy to go fast because a mistake can happen anytime. To ride in a good pace was really the key. I am thrilled to be in a new landscape and to have a lot of spectators along the way also makes it special.”

Sonora rookies getting the better of former winners 

Rookies at this rally filled the top five with Matthias Walkner fourth and Sam Sunderland fifth. Best of the locals was 2022 Sonora winner Skyler Howes who was not alone taking a wrong turn among the giant cactus plants: “Around kilometre 50, we made a navigation mistake that cost us all some time.” Says Skyler. “It was just a big flat area with a lot of tracks to choose from and we just got on the wrong track, and so that keeps pushing you off course a little until you can correct it. I tried to compensate by riding through the bushes, but there was a lot of cactuses and greenery that slowed me up and so I got lost for a couple of minutes there.”


Among those on the ‘need a better day two’ list are Ricky Brabec, who crashed and was uninjured but damaged his HRC machine, and Toby Price who also fell victim to the navigation early on: “at about kilometer 40, I made a mistake, missed a cap, and managed to head off in the wrong direction. It ended up costing me seven or eight minutes, so not the best way to start the rally.”

Rally2 class

Prologue winner Bradley Cox had a tough stage one thanks to a failed GPS and Iritrack system which made navigation damn hard. He was awarded 13 minutes back by stewards but sits just over one minute behind Dakar Rally2 class winner and rival, Romain Dumontier.


Tomorrow’s stage two will see riders face a total distance of 541 kilometers, including a timed special of 286 kilometers. A variety of terrain awaits the riders, including the first experience of Mexican dunes as they make their way from Hermosillo to Penasco.

2023 Sonora Rally stage 1 results:


Photo Credit: ASO | DPPI + Marcin Kin + Monster Energy Honda | MEHT