Carlos Sainz has edged closer to his second Dakar Rally victory, but his Peugeot team is set to miss out on a one-two finish following a penultimate stage crash for Stephane Peterhansel.
Peterhansel was 45 minutes behind Sainz and 20 clear of Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah heading into Friday's San Juan - Cordoba stage, which featured two timed sections of 124km and 244km split by an 382km liaison.
The Frenchman hit a tree early in the day's running, which resulted in steering damage on his Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi and left the 13-time Dakar champion with a thumb sprain.
Assisted by team-mate Cyril Despres, he lost almost an hour making it to the neutralised zone, where his car was finally attended to by an assistance crew.
The Frenchman ended the day having fallen to fourth in the general classification.
As he took profit from Peterhansel's misfortune, Al-Attiyah (pictured below) topped the day's timesheets, banking his fourth stage win of this year's Dakar.
However, Sainz's 46-minute lead over Al-Attiyah should, barring disaster, prove unassailable in the Saturday finale.
Overdrive's Lucio Alvarez and Al-Attiyah's Toyota Gazoo team-mate Giniel de Villiers were closest to the Qatari on the day, giving the Japanese marque its first 1-2-3 stage lockout in the 2018 event.
Another Toyota driver, Bernhard ten Brinke was again among the frontrunners in the stage, and was in the lead upon arriving at the neutralised zone.
Yet the Dutchman's hopes of a maiden Dakar podium - seemingly boosted by the Peterhansel accident - were then dashed abruptly.
He retired from the rally with a mechanical failure, his exit promoting de Villiers to third overall.
The 2018 Dakar will conclude on Saturday with a 120km loop near Cordoba.
Leading stage 13 times
|1||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||5h02m22.s|
|2||Lucio Ezequiel Alvarez||Overdrive Toyota||Toyota||11m16.s|
|3||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||13m06.s|
|4||Jakub Przygonski||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||15m07.s|
|5||Mikko Hirvonen||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||19m24.s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||19m37.s|
|7||Boris Garafulic||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||22m41.s|
|8||Sebastian Halpern||South Racing||Toyota||27m36.s|
|10||Cyril Despres||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||34m36.s|
Overall standings after stage 13
|1||Carlos Sainz||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||-|
|2||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||46m18.s|
|3||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||1h20m00.s|
|4||Stephane Peterhansel||Team Peugeot Total||Peugeot||1h28m08.s|
|5||Jakub Przygonski||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||2h46m32.s|
|7||Martin Prokop||MP Sports||Ford||7h21m55.s|
|8||Peter van Merksteijn||Overdrive Toyota||Toyota||7h42m41.s|
|9||Sebastian Halpern||South Racing||Toyota||9h09m04.s|
|10||Lucio Ezequiel Alvarez||Overdrive Toyota||Toyota||9h21m22.s|