Toby Price's bid for a third Dakar Rally motorcycle win remains on course, with the Australian star overcoming the after-affects of a crash to maintain his second place in the Saudi Arabian desert.
The 35-year-old Queensland-based rider finished third in Friday's sixth stage, despite taking things a little easier after hurting his back and shoulder in a crash the previous day.
The Red Bull KTM racer is now 3 minutes 31 seconds behind Husqvarna's Skyler Howes in the standings, dropping another 1:24 to the American rider, who finished second on Friday's exhausting 758km trek behind his Argentinian teammate Luciano Benavides.
The stage, set over dunes and sandy tracks, was left unpredictable after overnight rain but Price went on the attack from the start and following some navigation struggles, finished strongly after refuelling to finish 2:20 behind Benavides on the day.
"That's another day ticked off, it has certainly been a long one!" said Price, who's after a third win following triumphs in 2016 and 2019.
"I had that crash yesterday (when he was unable to avoid Joan Barreda, who had fallen ahead of him), so I've been a little bit sore on my back and took it a touch easier today.
"But all in all, everything is going well so far. We've got the marathon stage tomorrow, so that is always a big test to look after yourself and the bike.
"Hopefully it's not as cold as it has been over the last few days, but we'll do our best, get through it as always, and keep having fun."
After his calamitous fifth stage while feeling ill, Price's compatriot Daniel Sanders, the race's early pacesetter this week, had a better day, finishing seventh, three minutes behind Benavides, which leaves the Victorian eighth overall, almost 20 minutes down on Howes.
The major drama of the day came when record 14-time cars' winner Stephane Peterhansel crashed out and Audi teammate Carlos Sainz's chances were also effectively derailed by mechanical woes, providing a major boost for leader and defending champ Nasser Al-Attiyah.
French veteran Peterhansel crashed after 212km as four-time champion Al-Attiyah took his third victory of this year's event, to extend his lead over South African teammate Henk Lategan to an hour and six minutes.