Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah has one hand on his first ever Dakar Rally title after winning Stage 11 – a 622 kilometre special between Chilecito and San Juan in Argentina.
Bar accident the Volkswagen driver is now almost assured the title.
Defending champion Carlos Sainz struggled for the second straight day.
After getting lost on Stage 10 the Spanish veteran suffered a broken suspension on Thursday costing him an hour and a quarter.
Nine-times champion Stephane Peterhansel was second on the day and is second overall but a massive 51 minutes behind the frontrunner with two stages left.
In the bike category defending champion Cyril Despres of France took his third stage win of this edition, but he could only gain two minutes on leader Marc Coma after the Spaniard finished the special in second place.
Coma is 16 minutes clear of the Frenchman and remains on course for his third Dakar Rally title after triumphs in 2006 and 2009.