Australia's Toby Price has finished with his main rivals in the second-last stage of the Dakar Rally to keep the motorbike lead in Peru.
In a day of drama, Price was fifth in the 409-kilometre ninth stage as fellow title contender Sam Sunderland was penalised an hour at the start.
Competitors ride during stage nine of the Dakar Rally in Peru.CREDIT:AP
When Adrien van Beveren, fifth overall, suffered a broken engine with 16 kilometres to go, it left a clear top three of Price, Pablo Quintanilla and defending champion Matthias Walkner who are all within six minutes of each other.
Nobody attacked on the San Juan de Marcona to Pisco stage.
From a mass start, they rode together and finished together - behind stage winner Michael Metge of Argentina - and retained their overall positions.
Price, the 2016 champion who is nursing a sore right wrist, said he was content with the result.
"I know it's going to be very hard tomorrow, and I'll give it my best," Price said.
"I know I'm likely to be on the podium tomorrow, and it's amazing, but I want to win."
Quintanilla, one minute and two seconds behind Price, promised to "give it my 100 per cent to win the race" for his first Dakar title.