Salar de Uyuni - Dakar Rally legend Stephane Peterhansel proved too strong for his Peugeot team-mates Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb in Friday's sixth stage around the largest salt flats in the world in Bolivia.
Success for the veteran Frenchman powered him into the overall lead to give him a massive boost in his quest for a 12th success in motorsport's toughest challenge.
The 50-year-old from Alsace lined up for the 542km timed run in Uyuni, the longest stage of the rally, eight minutes adrift of nine-time world rally champion Loeb.
But already the winner of Wednesday's fourth stage he now goes into Saturday's drive from Uyuni to Salta in Argentina at the head of the pack.
He leads Dakar debutant Loeb, who was hit by a puncture and faulty
electrics, by 27 seconds with Sainz in third at 5:55, in an all-Peugeot
Defending Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, behind the wheel of a Mini, sits fourth, over 15 minutes adrift.
a stunning drive in Uyuni where he called on all his vast experience to
deal with the tricky terrain, Peterhansel timed 5:01.07 to cross
the line 17 seconds clear of Sainz.
Peugeot were destined for their
third clean sweep of the race only for late finisher Yazeed Al-Rajhi of
Saudi Arabia to grab third (at 7:19) ahead of Loeb.
competed in his first Dakar in 1988, winning the first of his six
overall victories on two wheels back in 1991 and taking his 11th victory
behind the wheel of a Mini in 2013.
In the bikes category, Tony Price took the day's honours on a KTM for his third stage win this year.
team-mate Matthias Walkner came in second at 1min5sec ahead of Paulo
Goncalves (1:12) but despite losing out the Portuguese Honda rider
retained the overall lead.
Price is a little over half a minute away.