Two-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah established a comfortable advantage out front in Rally Morocco with one day to go as erstwhile leader Carlos Sainz stopped.
Peugeot driver Sainz had led Al-Attiyah by five minutes coming into Day 4 and was the leader at CP1 at the 75km mark.
However, he stopped just three kilometres later with a technical problem and is yet to come through at CP2.
Al-Attiyah, who won the rally last year, completed the 292km stage less than a minute off Toyota pacesetter Yazeed Al-Rajhi and thus will carry a lead of 16 minutes over the Saudi driver into the final day.
Al-Rajhi himself passed fellow Toyota driver Vladimir Vasilyev, the Russian now 19 minutes off the lead.
Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb was third quickest through the stage after nursing a slow puncture to the finish, but is not in contention in the overall classification due to trouble on Day 1 and Day 3.
His long-time rival Mikko Hirvonen, who starred yesterday, was 4m39s off Al-Rajhi on Day 4 and has moved into the top six in the classification, just 17 seconds off fifth-placed Leeroy Poultier.
A strong showing from former ski jumping world champion Adam Malysz saw the Polish driver enter the top 10.
Overall classification after Day 4
Giniel de Villiers
Dirk von Zitzewitz