Former Paris to Dakar Rally champion Kenjiro Shinozuka of Japan is on a life support machine after being seriously injured in a crash during Thursday's eighth stage between Ghat and Sabha, Libya.
The 54-year-old Nissan driver hit a bump at full speed early in the 727-kilometer stage and his car went out of control and rolled. His co-driver Thierry Delli Zotti was also injured, but is reported in satisfactory condition.
Shinozuka, the 1997 champion, was third overall in the car section headed into the stage. Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel in a Mitsubishi has the overall lead despite placing second in the stage behind teammate Hiroshi Masuoka of Japan.
Masuoka finished with a total time of 3:57:42. Peterhansel was more than five minutes back with Jean-Pierre Fontenay of France third, more than 15 minutes behind his Mitsubishi teammates.
In the motorcycle division, Giovanni Sala won the stage in 4:34:45. KTM teammate Jean Brucy of France was second, more than two minutes back, with another KTM rider, Cyril Despres of France, third.
Fabrizio Meoni of Italy leads the overall standings, 34 seconds ahead of French rider Richard Sainct. Joan Nani Roma of Spain is third overall, more than two minutes behind Meoni.
The ninth stage continues in Libya and covers 585 kilometers from Sabha to Zilla. The 8,500-kilometer rally ends in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on January 19.