Two-time Dakar champion Toby Price clawed back six minutes on leader Ricky Brabec but Chile's Pablo Quintanilla was the big mover on the penultimate stage cutting his margin to Brabec to just 13 minutes and 56 second.
Price finished fifth on the stage five minutes and 49 seconds behind Quintanilla and is third overall 22 minutes and 34 seconds behind Brabec..
"We did make up some time today but I really needed some of the other guys up there in the outright standings to get in there between us to make up that needed time," he said.
"We were in a lot of dunes today, I actually struggled to make the first refuel at 229km
"I came in there with just 1-litre of fuel so we really had to preserve and look after the bike to make sure we made the finish.
"Overall it has been a good day, another one out of the way and just one more stage to go!."
Price is in a strong position to claim a fifth podium finish at the Dakar to go with his two overall wins (2016, 2019) and to third placings (2015, 2018).
Red Bull teammate Matthias Walkner is fourth, seven minutes and 19 seconds behind Price.
Friday's final stage of the Dakar Rally is over 429 kilometres.