Colin McRae's event ended better than it had started. The Scot and his Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz were fighting for fourth position and fastest time on the final stage of the rally secured the place for McRae.
Loeb said: "Right now I am a little bit disappointed with the second place, but really this result is fantastic for me. I came here looking to finish somewhere in the points, maybe sixth or seventh – so this is good, but it would have been nice to win – after our tyre choices, that was very difficult."
McRae commented: "It hasn't really been a brilliant weekend, but we have made it to the finish. The car was working well, we didn't have the brake problems which we'd experienced at the start of the rally. Today's stages were more representative of the pace we could achieve – and it was a good fight with Carlos."
Sainz added: "I was pushing really hard against Colin, but at the same time I knew that getting four points for fifth place was better than none at all if I had gone off the road."
Over at Peugeot both Richard Burns and Harri Rovanpera's 206 WRCs ran reliably through the final leg. Marcus Gronholm retired from the lead of the event when he slid into a ditch on SS8.
The final leg was a quiet one for the Peugeot team, as Burns steered a safe course through the final day, deciding that it wasn't worth trying to catch the two cars ahead, at the same time managing the gap between himself and fourth-placed Colin McRae.
It was a similar story for Rovanpera, who was happy to get to the end of a disappointing event for him. The Finn finished the rally in seventh place.
"Today has been quite quiet for us, no problems," said Burns, "Finishing in third is good for the championship, it means we have opened up more of a gap at the front."
Rovanpera added: "This has been the kind of rally where anything which could go wrong for us has gone wrong. It hasn't been my best event. But having said that, it is better than the result we had on the last round in Finland [where he crashed]."
At Ford Mikko Hirvonen's 2002 specification Focus RS WRC suffered throttle problems on the last two stages this afternoon. Francois Duval's 2003 Ford ran reliably for the final leg, while the sister car of Markko Martin was excluded for being in breach of Appendix J Article 252 2.2 last night.