Johannesburg - A cautious approach saw South African driver Giniel de Villiers finish the penultimate stage of the 2015 Dakar Rally in 12th place on Friday.
Mini's Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar had for all intents and purposes wrapped up the title with a 35 minute advantage over De Villiers in second place on the overall standings.
"We just decided to drive through the stage," De Villiers told dakar.com after the day's racing.
"There's no point taking any risks. Like I've said before, we cannot catch Nasser (Al-Attiya), so we just drove slowly through the stage avoiding any risks."
The 12th stage belonged to Orlando Terranova of Argentina posting a time of three hours, 04.06 (3:04:06), 30 seconds ahead of Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev.
Al-Attiya finished the day in fourth place, a minute-and-a-half behind the winner to consolidate his position at the top of the general classification.
With a firm grip on second place on the overall standings and an unlikely chance of catching up with Al-Attiya, De Villiers did not want to take any risks.
"Today we tried to take the stress out of it by reducing the speed quite a lot because if you can have some problems if you're trying to go a little bit faster on a stage like this," De Villiers said.
"You can really easily have a problem and take a wheel off on a rock. So we just tried to take the stress out of it and get to the finish."
Toyota's other South African team of Leeroy Poulter and co-driver Robert Howie finished shortly behind De Villiers for a 13th place.
As a result Poulter moved up one spot in the general classification to 16th place.
South Africa's Nissan Prodakar team of Johan van Staden and Mark Lawrenson posted the 35th fastest time of the stage to remain in 31st place on the overall standings.
In the quad category, South African rider Willem Saaijman continued with his dream debut, finishing the stage in fifth place, 10 minutes behind stage winner Christophe Declerck of France.
Saaijman held onto ninth place in the general classification and was set for a top-10 finish in this year's Dakar.
The off-road endurance race, formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, moved to South America in 2009 and runs through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.
The 14-day rally finishes in Buenos Aires on Saturday.