Rallye

Toscha Schareina Takes First Stage Win On 2023 Rallye du Maroc’s Second Stage

Author: Garry Morrow

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Tosha Schareina has been a regular front-runner in the last two Rally’s and made his way to the top again on stage two. Photo: Ingine Creators

Toscha Schareina has won stage two of the 2023 Rallye du Maroc – the last stage of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship.

Australian Toby Price had a good stage to come home second ahead of José Ignacio Cornejo in third.

Ross Branch opened the second stage after winning stage one and put in a solid performance to cross the finish line in the ninth place. Opening the stage was an arduous task, and it cost him 7 minutes. However, the Botswanan has managed to maintain his overall lead in the rally and continues in the top position by just over a minute.

It was another tough day in the saddle on stage two as riders completed a looped course starting and finishing at the bivouac at Zagora. Totaling 396 kilometers, the stage featured a 296-kilometer special that wound its way around the dunes of M’Hamid. Rough tracks, demanding navigation, and lots of sand were on the menu for all.

Tosha Schareina made up for yesterday’s navigation error to win by just over a minute.

I Had to remove that stab thorn from yesterday and we got it done!” Schareina said. “I wanted to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth from yesterday. I am recovering time in general and tomorrow we have a mission ahead which will be to open track. Let’s go,” he added.

Photo of Toby Price at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc
Toby Price is on the pace and finished second fastest on stage two. Photo: Ingine Creators

Today offered Toby Price a great opportunity to push, and that’s exactly what he did. Fifth into the special following his result on stage one, Price soon moved up to second place on time. Despite not earning any bonuses for opening the stage, he was still able to secure second place for the day, and in turn, earned himself a strong start position for Monday’s stage three.

“Yeah, second today is good and I’m happy with that,” Price declared. “The stage was a little bit more technical than yesterday which I liked although I did make a couple of little mistakes early on. After that though I got into a good rhythm and maintained a decent pace throughout. It’s still early in the race but moving up to second overall and closing in the leader is great and we’re in a good place. There are three stages to go and I’ll keep pushing and fighting until the very end.”

Photo of Ignacio Cornejo at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc
José Ignacio Cornejo finished in third. Photo: Ingine Creators

After finishing the stage in third José Ignacio Cornejo declared that his day was pretty much smooth sailing after limiting dramas and keeping a good clean pace.

“I really enjoyed the stage today. In the beginning, there were a lot of stones, not my kind of terrain but I felt strong. After refueling I kept pushing and pushing and made good navigation with no mistakes. It was a long stage where I had a lot of fun in the dunes. I am feeling pretty good physically and also mentally.”

Photo of Luciano Benavides at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc
fourth on stage sees Luciano Benavides lead in safe hands for now. Photo: Ingine Creators

Following a steadier start, where he initially dropped to eighth in the rankings, Luciano Benavides was able to find a good rhythm and immediately began to make up places. With a deficit of just over three and a half minutes to the eventual stage winner Tosha Schareina at the finish, Luciano placed fourth for the day and lies fifth in the overall standings, less than four minutes down on the early rally leader Ross Branch.

“Another stage, another tough day in the office,” Benavides said. “It was a long stage, not too difficult in terms of navigation, but there were a lot of long notes and lots of different terrain – dunes, riverbeds, stones. It wasn’t easy to find a good flow through all of that, but in the end, I think I did a good job. Times are really tight in the overall classification, so I’ll give my best again tomorrow and let’s see how things go.”

Photo of Matthias Walkner at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc
Matthias Walkner made sure to stay focused through the early kilometers to ensure he didn’t make any mistakes and finished fifth on the stage. Photo: Ingine Creators

Following on from his top-three result on the rally’s opening stage, Matthias Walkner was the third rider to enter today’s special. With navigation proving to be hugely demanding, Walkner made sure to stay focused through the early kilometers to ensure he didn’t make any mistakes. Finding a good rhythm and maintaining a strong pace, the Austrian star secured fifth place at the finish line, helped in part by the 41 seconds of bonus time he accumulated for assisting in opening the stage. With three days of racing remaining, Walkner lies fourth overall.

“I had another really good day today,” Walkner reflected. “I enjoyed the stage a lot more than yesterday. Today’s stage had a mix of everything. Different terrain, nice landscapes, and I felt great on the bike all day. I’m happy with my speed and my fifth-place finish and with a short liaison after today’s stage, it gives me more time to rest before tomorrow.”

Today the bivouac will remain in the same place, which means that stage 3 will consist in the same model with another circuit with start and arrival in Zagora. The terrain will change and will be composed mainly of dirt tracks, with a 108 km liaison and 336 km of Special Stage to race.

Photo of Ross Branch at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc
Ross Branch holds the rally lead going into stage three tomorrow.

2023 Rallye du Maroc – Stage 2 Provisional Classification
1 Tosha Schareina (Honda) 3:02:15
2 Toby Price (KTM) 3:03:15
3 Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:04:36
4 Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:05:49
5 Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:07:11
6 Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:07:13

2023 Rallye du Maroc – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 2]
1 Ross Branch (Hero) 7:18:15
2 Toby Price (KTM) 7:19:19
3 Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 7:20:36
4 Matthias Walkner (KTM) 7:21:31
5 Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 7:22:04
6 Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 7:27:39

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