Stephane Peterhansel remained on course for another Dakar victory as his X-raid Mini team-mate Nani Roma surged into third on stage 12.
Roma set the pace on the Fiambala to Copiapo leg and in the process snatched the final podium spot from fellow X-raid man Leonid Novitskiy.
Peterhansel was fourth fastest, losing 1m38s to nearest rival Giniel de Villiers but keeping himself 50m21s clear overall with two stages to go.
Robby Gordon looked set for a second consecutive stage win until Roma picked up his pace.
After his disastrous start to the rally, Gordon's Hummer has now made it back up to 16th place overall.
Guerlain Chicherit had been quickest on the opening part of Thursday's stage, before having to park to attend to transmission problems.
That has dropped him behind fellow SMG Buggy driver Ronan Chabot to eighth.
AUTOSPORT Dakar blogs:
Leading stage 12 times: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Nani Roma X-raid Mini 3h36m34s 2. Robby Gordon Gordon Hummer + 4m18s 3. Giniel de Villiers Imperial Toyota + 4m25s 4. Stephane Peterhansel X-raid Mini + 6m03s 5. Orlando Terranova X-raid BMW + 6m26s 6. Lucio Alvarez Overdrive Toyota + 9m25s 7. Carlos Sousa Great Wall + 9m58s 8. Ronan Chabot SMG Buggy + 10m18s 9. Leonid Novitskiy X-raid Mini + 15m10s 10. Yong Zhou Great Wall + 22m48s Leading positions after stage 12: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Stephane Peterhansel X-raid Mini 32h50m02s 2. Giniel de Villiers Imperial Toyota + 50m21s 3. Nani Roma X-raid Mini + 1h31m06s 4. Leonid Novitskiy X-raid Mini + 1h34m47s 5. Orlando Terranova X-raid BMW + 2h01m50s 6. Carlos Sousa Great Wall + 2h39m46s 7. Ronan Chabot SMG Buggy + 3h03m11s 8. Guerlain Chicherit SMG Buggy + 3h42m51s 9. Pascal Thomasse MD Buggy + 4h14m26s 10. Geoff Olholm Overdrive Toyota + 4h29m11s
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