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Monster Energy/Honda HRC Victorious at Stage 1 World Rally Raid in Mexico
Monster-backed Tosha Schareina and Pablo Quintanilla go 1st/3rd in opening stage of Mexico’s Sonora Rally
The Monster Energy-backed Honda HRC and Honda HGA (Honda/Japan’s R&D arm) off-road programs scored a big victory and 3rd place podium finish on Monday in the opening stage of the FIA/FIM World Rally Raid Championship’s Sonora Rally in Mexico. Honda HGA’s Tosha Schareina would place 1st in Stage 1, with Pablo Quintanilla (Honda HRC) scoring a 3rd place podium finish.
Running the Dakar-worthy CRF450 Rally motorcycles from Hermosillo to Hermosillo (170 km Special, 165 km Liaison), Schareina, a test rider for Honda HGA under the Monster Energy umbrella at Sonora, raced to a stage-best 1:33:25, topping 2nd place Daniel Sanders (Gas Gas) and 41 seconds up on 3rd place Quintanilla.
Said Schareina on his first career World Rally Raid stage victory: “I’m super happy with my first big win in the World Championships. I tried to push in the beginning of the day. I catch (Adrien) Van Beveren (Monster Energy/Honda HRC) and we were riding together in the second part of the stage. We have a difficult start tomorrow for the Stage 2, but I’m going to try to have a good race.”
Schareina added that the terrain in Mexico was more difficult than what he’s used to riding in his native Spain, calling the Stage 1 terrain at Sonora “Really, really flat and really dusty, but anyway I’m happy with my riding and the bike is awesome.”
For Quintanilla, the top Monster Energy Honda HRC placer, there was a fine line between taking chances and running his Honda CRF450 Rally on the edge versus running a conservative (yet fast) opening stage.
“It was a good day for me, but not an easy day for me,” said Quintanilla. “The first part of the stage was a lot of navigation, which was difficult between the vegetation. Some places it was difficult to see the piste (the race line). But I started to get a good rhythm, and, honestly, I felt I rode a good pace in this type of terrain with a lot of vegetation. It’s not easy to go fast – and it is easy to make a mistake and lose some time. So for me, it was important to keep a good pace and in the end I finish in a good position.”
Overall, the Monster Energy/Honda HRC racers were stoked with the new World Rally Raid Championship venue in Mexico, according to Quintanilla. “The landscape is different from where we’re used to riding. But it’s nice to be in a new place, new country, different culture. We will see how it goes the next day. And for sure it will not be easy.”
Also making the top ten at Stage 1 for Monster Energy/Honda HRC were Van Beveren (6th/20:20:25) and Ricky Brabec (7th/20:20:49), with Monster Energy-backed Ross Branch (Hero Motorsports) in 10th (20:23:04).