Carlos Sainz lost time on Stage 12 of the Dakar Rally but still holds a significant lead with two stages remaining.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo, Qatari) was a stage winner for the third time in the 2018 edition, 2:03s faster than Stephane Peterhansel (Team Peugeot, French).
Sainz (Team Peugeot, Spanish) was 18:07s slower than Al-Attiyah over the course of the 523km of competitive distance from Fiambalá/Chilecito to San Juan, but still has nearly three-quarters of an hour over team-mate Peterhansel in the general classification.
With the ultimate finish line in sight, Sainz was content with the result despite losing time with a gearbox problem.
“We had a difficult stage again,” he said.
“We had a puncture and then we had some gearbox problems, but everything is fine (because) we’ve finished the stage which is the important thing.
“We were stuck in third gear at the end of the stage so we stayed in third (gear).
“(But there’s still) two more days, two more days.”
Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel traded top spot through the final handful of waypoints before the Qatari prevailed for his third stage win.
Peterhansel had taken over the lead from another factory Hilux driver in the form of Bernhard Ten Brinke (Toyota Gazoo, Dutch), who was fastest to the untimed section midway through.
The out-of-contention Orlando Terranova (X-Raid Mini, Argentinean) was the initial stage leader.
In Trucks, a single second is all that separates leader Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz-Master, Russian) from Federico Villagra (Iveco YPF Infinia Diesel, Argentinean).
For Cars, there are 489km of competitive running left, with 369km in Stage 13 tonight (AEDT) from San Juan to Córdoba.
Bikes face 424km timed on the penultimate day.
General classification: Cars
|4||309||Bernhard TEN BRINKE||NED||Toyota||+1:17:21|
|5||304||Giniel DE VILLIERS||RSA||Toyota||+1:26:31|
|7||319||Sheikh Khalid AL QASSIMI||UAE||Peugeot||+3:20:45|
|9||334||Peter VAN MERKSTEIJN||NED||Toyota||+7:10:59|