Robby Gordon's slim hopes of winning the Dakar Rally took another nosedive on Thursday as Stephane Peterhansel increased his lead by winning stage 11.
Having lost over 17 minutes to Peterhansel and dropped to third the previous day, Gordon set a hot pace as the rally left the Chilean town of Arica and headed toward Arequipa in Peru.
The Hummer driver had pulled back nearly three minutes on Peterhansel's X-raid Mini by the third of eight checkpoints on the 297-mile stage. But he slowed dramatically shortly afterward, falling six minutes behind Peterhansel over the next 60 miles, and then stopping for over an hour in the dunes during the second half of the stage.
Gordon, already competing under appeal after event organizers disqualified him on Tuesday for running an illegal tire re-inflation system, was 1h13m off the pace at the penultimate checkpoint due to a mechanical problem sustained on the link road between the day's two timed sections of the stage, meaning he is likely to drop to fourth spot by the end of the day.
Peterhansel's stage win came by 3m44s from his X-raid teammate Nani Roma and increased his overall advantage over the Spaniard to 22m49s with only two stages remaining.
Former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers was fourth quickest through the stage and is now a comfortable third overall; the Toyota driver 1h11m behind Peterhansel and a likely 20 minutes clear of Gordon.
Leonid Novitskiy retained his fifth place with the fifth fastest time, while Krzysztof Holowczyc recovered from his Wednesday maladies with sixth fastest.
There was bad news for Carlos Sousa, who began the day sixth. His Great Wall stopped in the dunes inside the first 100 miles of the stage. Despite losing almost an hour, he should hang on to his position, albeit now much farther behind Novitskiy.
Leading positions after stage 11:
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Stephane Peterhansel Mini 32h38m05s
2. Nani Roma Mini + 22m49s
3. Giniel de Villiers Toyota + 1h11m01s
4. Robby Gordon Hummer + 2h10m31s
5. Leonid Novitskiy Mini + 2h11m10s
6. Lucio Alvarez Toyota + 3h53m51s
7. Carlos Sousa Great Wall + 4h04m43s
8. Bernard ten Brinke Mitsubishi + 4h17m36s
9. Ricardo Leal dos Santos Mini + 4h38m11s
10. Duncan Vos Toyota + 4h50m21s