Australian Dakar Rally master Toby Price has motored into second place in the annual endurance challenge after a dramatic day in which he crashed his motorbike into a stricken opponent and then stopped to help.
But on an eventful Thursday, Price's compatriot Daniel Sanders, suffering from illness, lost his overall lead in the rally after a wretched day in the desert.
The 35-year-old Gold Coast-based rider Price, winner in 2016 and 2019, was caught up in late drama in the fifth stage, a 373km loop course around Ha'il, as he couldn't avoid crashing into the previous day's stage winner Joan Barreda, who fell just in front of him.
"'It was a tough stage. We got lost a little bit this morning, losing a little bit more time there," said Price.
"Then Barreda had a crash in front of us and I ended up hitting him - more his bike ... I'm not sure, I pretty much shut my eyes.
"It was a big one. He was on the ground, so we stopped for him for about five or six minutes, and made sure he was all good, then continued on."
Price, who hurt his shoulder in the crash, came home fifth on the stage on his factory Red Bull KTM but was promoted to third on the day after being reawarded the time he lost when stopping to help the Spaniard Barreda.
He ended up promoted to second place in the overall standings, now just two minutes and seven seconds behind new leader, American Skyler Howes.
"We'll just get back to the bivouac, have a look at this shoulder and get it all sorted for the next day," said Price.
Victorian Sanders, having started over three-and-a-half minutes clear of his rivals, lost nearly 27 minutes on the day, the Red Bull GasGas rider slumping from first to eighth overall in the standings, now 17 minutes 50 seconds behind Howes.
'It's been a bit of a struggle to say the least," said Sanders. "When I woke up, I didn't feel good at all. I had no energy, couldn't really eat or drink anything, so it seems like I've picked up some kind of bug, I guess.
"It's a bit of a bummer after starting the rally so well.
"What made things even tougher was that my bike is set up to work at higher speeds and I just didn't have the pace I needed today."
Sanders is still struggling with arm injuries, a hangover from last year's race-ending crash in the same event, and limped home 21st on the stage behind French winner Adrien Van Beveren.
Meanwhile, defending cars' champion Nasser Al-Attiyah extended his lead with another stage win. His second win of the first week has given him a 22-minute lead over eight-time champion Stephane Peterhansel.