- NASCAR star Robby Gordon wins 12th stage of Dakar Rally in Peru
- Gordon powered through the dunes to win by over 15 minutes
- Stephane Peterhansel remains top of overall standings
- Marc Coma of Spain reclaims lead in motorcycle section
America's Robby Gordon scored a convincing victory in the 12th stage of the Dakar Rally in Peru Friday.
Gordon, driving a Hummer, finished over 15 minutes clear of Russia's Leonid Novotskiy, in a Mini, with Ginel De Villliers of South Africa (Toyota) in third.
He recorded a time of two hours 14 minutes and 32 seconds for the 245km timed section of the leg from from Arequipa to Nasca, much of it over sand dunes and awkward terrain.
Race leader Stephane Petherhansel of France in his Mini lost time by being stuck in the dunes, but came home sixth.
He leads second-placed Nani Roma of Spain, also driving a Mini, by over 20 minutes with two days to go.
NASCAR star Gordon is fourth overall, but faces disqualification for an infringement of the rules on Wednesday's stage which he is appealing.
Peterhansel, who has won the motorcycle section six times, is bidding for a fourth win in the cars and has Roma as his main rival. Third-placed De Villiers is over an hour back in the overall standings.
Meanwhile, Spain's Marc Coma reclaimed the overall lead in the motorcycle section with victory on the stage, leapfrogging France's Cyril Despres for first place.
It was a superb ride from the KTM star, who led home compatriots Joan Barreda Bort, on a Husqvarana, and KTM teammate Jordi Viladoms.
Despres finished fourth on the leg and trails the Coma by one minute 35 seconds overall in a titanic battle.
The new leader was delighted with his performance on the stage.
"It was a difficult day. I set off four minutes after Cyril (Despres) and I managed to catch up with him.
"It's no way near over, because there's another big stage tomorrow," he told the official race website.
Three-time winner Despres sportingly paid tribute to Coma.
"It was a magnificent stage, one of the finest specials that I've ridden on the Dakar over the last few years," he said.
"Against Marc Coma, I'm doing battle with an excellent rider. He's quick and clever."