Francisco Lopez won the penultimate stage of this year’s Dakar Rally – a 735 kilometre ride between Copiapo and La Serena in his native Chile.
Lopez picked up his fourth win this edition when he completed the 441 kilometres timed special in three hours, 44 minutes and 54 seconds.
KTM stablemate and overall leader Cyril Despres of France was second on the day and bar accident in the final stage should claim his fifth Dakar title.
Despres is eight minutes and 15 seconds clear of Lopez who moved above Portugal’s Ruben Faria into second.
American Robby Gordon steered his Hummer to victory in the car category for his second stage win in three days.
Russian Leonid Novistkiy continued his push to cement the final spot on the overall Dakar podium with a fifth-place finish on the day.
The Mini driver is third overall one and a half hours off leader Stephane Peterhansel who was ninth on the day but remains in prime position to win a record extending 11th Dakar crown.
South African Giniel de Villiers was fourth over the stage and is second overall 44 minutes off the pace.
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