X-raid BMW driver Guerlain Chicherit collected his first Dakar stage win in the Santiago to San Juan section, but the big news of the day was that Nasser Al-Attiyah halved his Volkswagen teammate Carlos Sainz's overall lead.
Sainz sustained damage to his VW early on stage 11 and, although he continued to the finish, he was seven minutes slower than Chicherit, and 5m38s down on Al-Attiyah's time. That allowed the Qatari driver to reduce Sainz's outright advantage from 10 minutes to four and a half minutes going into the final three days of the marathon event.
Chicherit led for most of the stage after his teammate Stephane Peterhansel lost time, and eventually won by 30 seconds over Orlando Terranova, who gave the now JMB-run Mitsubishi its best result of this year's rally so far.
Last season's winner Giniel de Villiers, who suffered massive delays early in the 2010 event, was third fastest today for VW, just 9sec behind Terranova.
Behind Sainz and Al-Attiyah, Mark Miller continues to maintain VW's overall 1-2-3, with Peterhansel still ahead of Chicherit in fourth.