Dakar winner, Marc Coma finally shrugged off the bad luck that has plagued him throughout the 2010 rally to take his first stage victory of the event.
The Spanish rider set the fastest time through the dunes at each of the three check point during the shortened 160KM timed Special stage.
The KTM rider is now sixth overall, but still 38m50s behind having endured a 22m time penalty for speeding during stage two and a time consuming overheating problem on stage three.
He said: “We’ve had some bad luck, but today was a good day.
"We challenged for the lead, which is important and its good for the moral of the team after a few bad days.
"We will take things day by day and forget about the overall classification as the lead is too far away.
"I want to make the most of the race, climb in the standings, and move forward... till the end.”
David Casteu impressed once again onboard his Sherco finishing second fastest just 2m04s behind Coma.
The Frenchman is continuing to show that his lighter 450cc machine is a match for the air restricted 690 KTM’s of Coma and Despres even in the sand dunes.
Casteu maintains second position overall 8m53s behind the leader.
Cyril Despres set the early pace, but dropped to third position losing 3m14s to rival, Coma.
Thanks to his dominance during the second stage, the KTM rider is still 8m53s in front of second place man and 23m45s ahead of Yamaha rider Helder Rodrigues in third.
Craig Bounds leads the way for the Brits with another strong performance to claim 49th place on the day.
The KTM rider is now 90th ahead of Paul Carlyle in 94th, Tamsin Jones holds 109th with Andrew Neri 110th.
Irishman Phillip Noone claimed a strong 84th on the day and is 115th overall.
There are now 117 riders remaining from 161 starter. Brit Duncan Tweedy retired from the Dakar on stage three.
Stage 4 – Fiambala to Copiapo
Tuesday 5th January
Special 160KM (shortened from 203KM)