Dakar frontrunner Stephane Peterhansel reckons his only real shot at making up ground in the fight for victory will come in Wednesday's Stage 10.
Peterhansel held a narrow lead over teammate Carlos Sainz heading into Tuesday's running, but endured a difficult stage and now sits seven minutes adrift.
"We had two punctures at the start of the stage and had to stop twice," the Frenchman said. "The upside is that it was not in the dunes, but in soft ground. And at the end of the stage we then had an engine problem."
The 11-time Dakar champion now has four more stages to try and overhaul Sainz, but suggests his hopes rest the Belen - La Rioja test on Wednesday.
"Tomorrow is the last chance to fight the victory," he said.
"It will be a difficult stage where we will have a chance. If we are to take the lead, it has to be tomorrow."
Interview by Luis Ramirez