Nasser Al-Attiyah reduced the gap to Dakar leader Stephane Peterhansel to just over a minute after winning Thursday's sixth stage of the event.
The Qatari driver, who had lost time to his rival on Wednesday, recovered more than eight minutes over Peterhansel to finish the day just 1m18s behind the Frenchman following the 272-mile special from Arica to Calama.
Al-Attiyah completed the special in four hours and 52 minutes to clinch his third stage victory of this year's Dakar. Peterhansel was second, ahead of American Robby Gordon, who was nearly 14 minutes behind Al-Attiyah at the finish.
Argentina's Orlando Terranova was fourth in the BMW X3, while Russian Leonid Novistkiy completed the top five.
South African Giniel de Villiers finished the day in sixth to keep third position in the standings, albeit over 42 minutes behind the leader.
Al-Attiyah's team-mate and former world rally champion Carlos Sainz, already out of contention after the problems he had suffered on Tuesday, was forced to retire from the event after being hit by engine problems in his Red Bull buggy.
Peterhansel's X-raid team-mate Nani Roma, the winner of Wednesday's stage, also hit trouble and lost all chances of fighting for the overall victory after getting stuck in a dune and losing over an hour to Al-Attiyah.
The rally will enter Argentina tomorrow with a 135-mile special from Calama to Salta.
Leading positions after stage six: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Stephane Peterhansel X-raid Mini 14h36m16s 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Red Bull Buggy + 1m18s 3. Giniel de Villiers Imperial Toyota + 42m31s 4. Leonid Novitskiy X-raid Mini + 44m47s 5. Guerlain Chicherit SMG Buggy + 1h16m26s 6. Ronan Chabot SMG Buggy + 1h27m52s 7. Nani Roma X-raid Mini + 1h30m52s 8. Bernard Errandonea SMG Buggy + 1h50m37s 9. Carlos Sousa Great Wall + 2h02m55s 10. Orlando Terranova X-raid BMW + 2h05m27s Leading stage six times: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah Red Bull Buggy 4h52m08s 2. Stephane Peterhansel X-raid Mini + 8m36s 3. Robby Gordon Gordon Hummer + 13m52s 4. Orlando Terranova X-raid BMW + 14m13s 5. Leonid Novitskiy X-raid Mini + 15m48s 6. Giniel de Villiers Imperial Toyota + 17m17s 7. Lucio Alvarez Overdrive Toyota + 25m36s 8. Ronan Chabot SMG Buggy + 25m53s 9. Guerlain Chicherit SMG Buggy + 28m28s 10. Erick Wevers HRX Ford + 30m16s