Monster Energy Honda Team’s Tosha Tops The Dakar Rally Prologue
2024 World Rally Raid Championship Round 1
The 2024 Dakar Rally has finally begun in Saudi Arabia with the prologue kicking off the action for the Monster Energy Honda Team amidst the breathtaking backdrop of AlUla.
Riding amongst the historical rock formations, the first Honda RallyGP rider out of the starting blocks was Tosha Schareina on today’s 27 km course being on full attack from the get go. The young Spaniard brilliantly topped the timesheets and therefore seeing him take his first ever Dakar stage win.
The organisers had set a very tricky prologue which saw riders being tested on off-piste and sandy sections relying heavily on their navigation skills. A day after his 33rd birthday, Adrien Van Beveren kept in touching distance of Tosha to be fourth just 24 seconds behind, while Dakar Legend Pablo Quintanilla posted the seventh quickest time of the day.
The vastly experienced pairing of Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio Cornejo were a little further back finishing in thirteenth and fourteenth as they will look to move up the rankings as the rally gets underway proper tomorrow.
A tougher than usual challenge for the opening day, it wasn’t the ideal start for Skyler Howes as an error saw him not only damage his Honda CRF450 RALLY, but also his road book. Despite losing time there are still two weeks of rallying to go and the American rider is positive he can change things around.
The bonus of finishing in the top ten today means riders will get to choose their place for tomorrow’s stage later on this evening and with Tosha on top it’ll be interesting to see what position he chooses. Don’t forget he won World Rally-Raid Championship stages in 2023 despite being first on the stage so this could very well be factored into his plan for tomorrow.
Stage one will kick off the first weekend in January with riders heading East from AlUla to Al Henakiyah where they will be thrown into a 414 km special stage. A 127 km liaison will make up the 541 km total distance in what promises to be a demanding day with rocky terrain and volcanoes on the menu as riders head to the first bivouac.