Results from stage two of the 2023 Sonora Rally, round three of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship in Mexico which saw Daniel Sanders go fastest ahead of Tosha Schareina, Ricky Brabec takes a penalty and both Sunderland and Howes crash out.

Stage two of the 2023 Sonora Rally was a dramatic one. What should have totalled 541 km – with 286km of timed special – but was shortened to 162km by the organisers, who also postponed the start due to “unforeseen circumstances and to ensure maximum safety for competitors”.

It turned out to be a fast one with navigation at a minimum meaning riders had their heads down and those corners and twists in the trail came up a bit too fast. Not as fast as one wash-out hole in a long, flat-out straight which caught many out and should, some said, have been noted as a danger on the road book. And that’s without mentioning the snakes…

Snakes and cows

GASGAS Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders pretty much topped the time sheets all day, battling with Toby Price, stage one winner Tosha Schareina and Ricky Brabec for the win. The first three riders benefit from time bonuses awarded due to leading the stage but Sanders didn’t really need that, taking the provisional win in a time of one hour and 28 minutes, more than one minute ahead of his closest challenger Schareina.


Second on stage one and now winner on stage two, Sanders holds the provisional overall rally lead, just 21 seconds ahead of Schareina.“I started second,” says Chucky, “managed to get through the opening kilometers ok, but there were some sketchy places out there. So I was just pleased that I didn’t crash, and got through to some nice flowing tracks.

“I was just trying not to make any mistakes and ride smooth. I almost hit a cow at about 140 kilometers an hour, and also saw a few really big snakes, so it was an eventful stage. I got a good result and avoided any cactuses, so all good for me.”

As for Schareina, he continues to make remarkably good use of the HRC Honda (he’s not in the official team but sits alongside them, much like Joan Barreda did at the Dakar). The Spaniard opened the stage the whole way for maximum bonus points and stayed ahead of Sanders and the factory riders on the ground at least, losing 1m15s on time.


Engine change puts Brabec last in RallyGP

Four times winner of Sonora Ricky Brabec had a flyer of a stage two to finish 2m18s back from Sanders to place provisionally third on the day. But a subsequent engine change means 15 minutes is added to his time and the Monster Energy Honda rider drops to the back of the RallyGP classification.

After a navigational mistake cost him dearly on the opening day, Toby Price nailed a fast stage two placing second quickest on time for much of it. Toby lost out when the time bonuses were awarded to the top three riders but placed fourth, ahead of Ross Branch fifth.


“I’m pleased with my speed out there,” says Toby, “it was just all really fast with little in the way of navigation. Not the best stage to start behind and try and make up time, but I gave it my all and I’m pleased to make the finish safe and in one piece.”

It was a bad day for…Skyler Howes and Sam Sunderland

At kilometre 24, defending world champion Sam Sunderland crashed when he arrived too fast into a washed-out section of track. “Banged up, shaken up, and fortunate to escape serious injury” say his team, Sam was quickly back on his feet but out of the event.

Same too for 2022 Sonora Rally winner Skyler Howes who also suffered a crash early on, at around kilometre 18. Howes was also forced to withdraw from the stage and the event with a shoulder injury.

Road book not safe?

“Today things did not turn out the way I wanted. I started riding fast in the piste and then I found Skyler and Sam Sunderland crashed.”  Said Adrien Van Beveren at the end of this stage. No matter how experienced you are organising an event, it’s a tough call stepping up to the world championship level, not least because of how damn fast these guys are riding.

An dit seems their speed and a lack of danger notes on the roadbook are allegedly to blame for the crashes, some of them at least. A long straight with unmarked wash-outs is what the riders are talking about when tehy say it was sketchy.

“There were a lot of dangerous points in the road book and some were not marked.” Explains Van Beveren. “The two riders that were in front of me crashed and for this reason I was not confident about the road book. So I decided to play safe and rode carefully until the end. In my opinion the road book was not good, but this is racing and we have to adapt.”


In Rally2, Romain Dumontier took his second stage win on the HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing beating a trio of BAS World KTM Racing riders; Jacob Argubright at 1′13″, Bradley Cox at 4′23″, and Paolo Lucci at 5′00″. In the overall standings, Dumontier sits 5′39″ ahead of Cox and with Argubright third.

Tomorrow’s stage three starts and finishes in Puerto Peñasco with a 350 km of special stage and a liaison of 116 km on a course pretty much the same as stage two witha variety of terrain, gravel tracks, sand and chott.

2023 Sonora Rally stage 2 results:


RallyGP classification after stage 2:



Photo Credit: Julien Delfosse ASO | DPPI + Cin Cin Movies + Monster Energy Honda | MEHT