''Today was very difficult for me with the broken damper,'' said Sainz, ''I tried my best, but I also wanted to get the car to the finish.''
Loeb added: ''I did not find this rally easy, as I really did not have so much experience of all the stages. But we were still able to set some good times so I'm encouraged. The car felt good: I think we've definitely made some progress.''
Markko Martin's Ford Focus RS WRC03 ran reliably all day to take the Estonian to his second career victory. The other Focus RS WRC03 of Francois Duval retired 5.5 kms into SS19 after hitting a stone, while the 2002 specification Focus of Mikko Hirvonen
retired after SS11 yesterday following a turbo fire.
Martin started the day with an advantage of over a minute and controlled his pace all day in order to be sure of sealing the victory. He eventually ended up with a winning margin of just under a minute.
Duval was under instructions to finish the rally in order to learn the roads, but retired on SS19 after hitting a stone and damaging the left-front wheel beyond repair.
Martin said: ''I've dreamed of winning here ever since I was a young boy. This is the Grand Prix of the rally world and it's so special to be successful here because so few non-Finns have won this rally. We have the fastest car in the championship, we've won the fastest event and this is more special to me than my first win in Greece.''
Duval added: ''We came over a crest and there was a big stone on the following left-hand corner which we hit. We weren't going too fast but it's not easy when the notes aren't perfect.''
Both Subaru Impreza WRC2003s of Tommi Makinen and Petter Solberg
have run reliably throughout the final leg.
Solberg started the day fourth in a tight three-way battle for second place together with Richard Burns and Carlos Sainz. On the opening stage of the day he leapfrogged both his rivals to take second, but he was passed by Richard Burns on SS20. Solberg fought back to take the runner-up spot from Burns on the final stage of the day.
Makinen has finished the rally sixth after a solid run, despite being hampered by tyre mousse vibration problems on the second day. He made small adjustments to the differential settings today but was otherwise happy with his car.
''On the final stage I just went mad: I was practically standing up in my car! I nearly went off on the first corner and bent the throttle pedal! There's no way I could have driven quicker,'' said Solberg, ''The final result is excellent and I'm so happy.''