"You feel good when you reach the finish. There are a 29-kilometre special and two liaisons to go, and then we can think of another Dakar victory," said Patronelli, whose brother Marcos remains in a distant second place in the overall standings.
"We had to finish today's stage. Everything went OK. I am deeply moved and very happy. If I win tomorrow, this will be a great moment for our family, our team, Argentina and Las Flores.
"We still have to pray nothing bad will happen during the last special and the two liaisons. The gaps have been made. Everything is perfect."
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Maffei was delighted to have won the stage ahead of Sergio La Fuente.
"There is only tomorrow's stage left. And we have reached Lima, which was one of our goals," he said.
"Today's position is a good one, of course. I am happy. It was a beautiful stage near the sea in which we had to cross very high dunes. Navigating and maintaining a certain pace while riding together is certainly different from riding alone."
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