2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Tosha Schareina dominates in RallyGP

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Tosha Schareina dominates in RallyGP

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Tosha Schareina‘s first World Rally-Raid Championship season as a full-fledged member of Monster Energy Honda Rally Team started on a sour note when he crashed in the opening stage of the Dakar Rally. After he and the team skipped the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (though he still kept busy by winning the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup season opener in Japan), the Spaniard got right back to work in the closest thing to a home race as he led the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal from start to finish.

Schareina won the Prologue and never relinquished the lead from there. He added two more stage victories along the way, one of which came in the race’s leg crossing over into his native Spain. Although he finished outside the podium in Stages #2 and #4, he only barely missed out in both instances as Honda team-mate Skyler Howes held him off in both by just ten and fifteen seconds, respectively. He finished second to colleague Adrien Van Beveren on the fifth and final leg.

The win is his second in the W2RC after claiming the 2023 Desafío Ruta 40, but first as a registered championship rider. He is the tenth different points-earning rider to win a W2RC race since its inception in 2022.

“Super happy, super happy for my first victory in a world championship because a big part of the staff is Portuguese,” said Schareina. “Now it’s time to celebrate and think about the next one in Argentina.”

Sebastian Bühler, who also wrecked out of Dakar and missed Abu Dhabi as a result, returned to his home event with a strong outing as he scored his maiden W2RC stage victory. While he lost by a wide enough margin that a four-minute penalty in Stage #1 for missing a waypoint made little difference, a runner-up overall is still his first career podium finish.

He also continues a strong 2024 season for Hero MotoSports, who has now recorded a podium in all three rounds including winning in Abu Dhabi with Aaron Marè, who did not return for Portugal.

“I’m really happy with how the Rally went overall. It became quite difficult due to the continuous rains we had before the race,” commented Bühler. “The stages were challenging for me, and even for the mechanics to keep the bike in good shape throughout the week. It was still good, as I like this terrain, and I could push hard due to my familiarity with the region. On the first day, I lost a bit of time due to a penalty, but I’m happy to have performed well overall. I think it was a good comeback after my Dakar crash earlier this year.”

His team-mate Ross Branch finished sixth after having to play catch-up due to a crash in Stage #1, and continues to lead the points standings. Hero has a three-point edge over Honda in the manufacturer’s title battle.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough in this terrain, and the competitors in the top order had a better pace,” Branch stated.

Portugal native António Maio joined them on the overall podium. After not finishing higher than fifth across the first three stages, he broke out by holding off Van Beveren for the Stage #4 victory, notching Yamaha’s first bike stage win since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (coincidentally courtesy of Van Beveren). Even when saddled by a six-minute speeding penalty from Stage #3, he beat Van Beveren again for third by thirty seconds.

Maio described the third as “very rewarding” after competing with the “best in the world in the sport.”

Van Beveren still recorded a podium anyway among points-eligible riders ahead of Howes, Branch, and Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla. Dakar winner Ricky Brabec did not join his Honda colleagues due to scheduling conflicts.

Lorenzo Santolino was the lone RallyGP retirement after crashing in the final stage. He was running sixth overall prior to the accident and finished second in Stage #1.

RallyGP overall results

FinishNumberRiderTeamTimeMargin168Tosha SchareinaMonster Energy Honda Rally Team10:01:15Leader214Sebastian BühlerHero MotoSports10:05:53+ 4:38330António Maio*Yamaha Portugal10:15:27+ 14:12442Adrien Van BeverenMonster Energy Honda Rally Team10:15:57+ 14:42510Skyler HowesMonster Energy Honda Rally Team10:19:05+ 17:50646Ross BranchHero MotoSports10:21:34+ 20:1977Pablo QuintanillaMonster Energy Honda Rally Team10:34:02+ 32:47DNF15Lorenzo Santolino*Sherco TVS Rally Factory TeamDNFN/A

RallyGP stage winners

W2RC RallyGP standings

For readability, competitors registered for the championship who have not earned points are excluded.

Riders’ standings

RankRiderPointsMargin1Ross Branch61Leader2Adrien Van Beveren40– 213Ricky Brabec38– 234Pablo Quintanilla27– 34T-5Tosha Schareina25– 36T-5Aaron Marè25– 36T-7Sebastian Bühler20– 41T-7José Ignacio Cornejo20– 419Skyler Howes13– 48

Manufacturers’ standings

RankManufacturerPointsMargin1Hero106Leader2Honda103– 3

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