Johannesburg - Giniel de Villiers looks set to finish on the podium - barring any mishaps in the last two legs - after retaining second place overall in the Dakar Rally in Argentina on Friday.
De Villiers finished third in the 12th stage between Fiambala, Argentina, and Copiapo in Chile.
While he made up one minute, 38 seconds on overall leader Stephane Peterhansel, he remained more than 50 minutes behind the Frenchman in the standings.
The South African, who won the race in 2009, held a comfortable cushion of 40 minutes over Spaniard Nani Roma in third.
Meanwhile, in the bikes division, Riaan van Niekerk was 20th for the stage, dropping back one place to 14th overall, while Darryl Curtis had another tough day, crossing the line in 89th position and falling to 29th in the standings. Brett Cummings was 35th and rose another five positions to 50th in the two-week race.
Sarel van Biljon managed a credible sixth in the quads division, but he remained 21st of the 25 quads left in the race, more than 15 hours off the pace of the leaders.