The penultimate stage of the 2011 edition of the Dakar Rally took the competitors on a 266 kilometre special from San Juan to Cordoba, Argentina.
Overall bike leader Marc Coma of Spain rode with caution and made no navigational errors to win his 5th stage this year and 16th overall.
Bar accident on the final day he is almost assured to win his third Dakar title.
He’s now 16.5 minutes clear of Cyril Despres in the overall standings after the Frenchman came home second on the day.
Spaniash veteran Carlos Sainz won his sixth stage of this edition in teh car category, while his Volkswagen teammate Geniel De Villiers of South Africa came second.
But in third place was Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah who is over 48 minutes clear of the chasing pack in the general standings and unless he crashes or suffers a complete mechanical breakdown on Saturday will win his first Dakar title.
In the truck category Vladimir Chagin extended his overall lead to just over 31 minutes with stage 12 victory.
A win on Saturday will hand the Russian his seventh rally title and 10th for his Kamaz team.