Prologue | Rallye Du Marc 2023
Monster Energy-backed racers go 1st/2nd/3rd at Rallye du Maroc’s opening Prologue stage in Morocco.
Monster Energy-backed racers dominated the opening 119 km Prologue stage around Agadir (Morocco) today, kicking off the Rallye du Maroc, with Team Honda’s Tosh Schareina taking the top 1st place spot, followed by American Ricky Brabec (Honda HRC Rally) in the runner-up 2nd position and Ross Branch (Hero Motorsports) in 3rd place. Rounding out the top five for Monster Energy was Pablo Quintanilla (Honda HRC Rally), the 2019 Rallye du Maroc champion, who placed 5th in the Prologue to give Monster Energy four of the top five spots – including the Prologue podium sweep.
And while there was light celebration along with guarded optimism regarding Friday’s dominant podium sweep in the Rallye du Maroc’s shortest stage at the fifth and final round of the 2023 FIM World Rally Raid Championship, there was also cause for quite some concern as newly acquired Monster Energy/Honda HRC Rally team member and defending Rallye du Maroc champion, Skyler Howes, experienced a gnarly high side get off in a fast, whooped-out section of the Prologue and sustained a reported back and knee injury – which knocked him out of the competition. Howes is already on a flight back to the U.S. to see his physician in Utah.
Atop the podium, Schareina and Brabec battled their way to near identical finish times (each clocking 11:03 runs), while Branch finished just two minutes back (11:05).
Said Schareina of his winning Rally du Maroc Prologue performance: “So it was pretty impressive. We take the first position here in the Prologue. The terrain was so, so destroyed. But yeah, I found a good line and would take the win.”
Added 2nd place Brabec: “Prologue’s done. Just the start of five days of rally. But anyway, the Prologue was good and I’m happy with the results. But I’m thinking of my teammate, Skyler, who had a big get off. We slowed down for a couple hundred meters for him. Got the thumb’s up from him, I gave him the thumb’s up back. But, unfortunately, we had a teammate go down. We could have done a better job (if we didn’t have to slow down), but I’m happy for this and looking forward to the next five days of rally racing.”
For the always stoked Branch, aka the Ferrari of the Kalahari, the start couldn’t have been better as he hung with the powerful Monster Energy/Honda racers to grab the third rung on the rostrum. “It was awesome! I had so much fun out there,” said Branh. “It was bumpy. It was rough. It was everything I love! Very sandy, and a couple of big holes that I wasn’t expecting. But, all-in-all, the bike was amazing, and I’m feeling like a million bucks and ready to go tomorrow.”
Rallye du Maroc Results
1st – Tosha Schareina (Monster Energy/Team Honda)
2nd – Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy/Honda HRC Rally)
3rd – Ross Branch (Monster Energy/Hero Motorsports)
5th – Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy/Honda HRC Rally)
Rallye du Maroc Schedule
October 13: Prologue — Agadir (total: 119 km)
October 14: Stage 1 — Agadir–Zagora (road section: 397 km / special: 324 km / total: 721 km)
October 15: Stage 2 — Zagora–Zagora (road section: 100 km / special: 288 km / total: 388 km)
October 16: Stage 3 — Zagora–Zagora (road section: 108 km / special: 336 km / total: 444 km)
October 17: Stage 4 — Zagora–Merzouga (road section: 75 km / special: 351 km / total: 426 km)
October 18: Stage 5 — Zagora–Merzouga (road section: 0 km / special: 152 km / total: 152 km)
This weekend features Stages 1 & 2 of the fifth and final round of the 2023 FIM World Rally Raid Championship – Rallye du Maroc.