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Frans Verhoeven of the Netherlands won stage 12 of the Dakar Rally – a 715 kilometre trek from Fiambala in Argentina to Copiapo in Northern Chile.
Verhoeven ended the day’s action one minute and 38 seconds ahead of Portuguese KTM rider Ruben Faria who turned out to be the biggest winner.
Faria reduced the gap on overall race leader and stable mate Cyril Despres who struggled to 14th place. Despres still maintains top spot, although his lead has been cut by Faria to just 5 minutes and 39 seconds.
Spain’s Nani Roma won the stage in the car category in his Mini. He covered the timed 319 km in three hours, 36 minutes and 34 seconds.
Roma crossed the line in Copiapo 4 minutes and 18 seconds clear of American and stage 11 winner Robby Gordon.
South African 2009 winner Giniel De Villiers steered his Toyota to third and nibbled away at the massive lead of Stephane Peterhansel who was fourth on the day.
Peterhansel holds a 50 minute advantage over De Villiers heading into stage 13 between Copiapo and La Serena in Chile.
With two stages remaining and baring accident the Frenchman is looking good for a record-extending 11th Dakar title.