The duel between the two former team-mates was the main talking point of the rally, but although Ogier took the lead early on, with best times in five stages, he lost the position following a mistake.
In the seventh special stage, Ogier missed a braking point, skidded off the road and had to reverse. The error cost him 40 seconds and while this didn’t decide the outcome, a puncture soon after allowed Loeb to move out of reach.
Ogier switched tactics on the final day, driving instead to consolidate second position and save his tyres ahead of a final stage push that netted him two extra Power Stage points.
After the finish podium ceremony in Carlos Paz, Ogier said: “The most important thing was to finish the rally with good points and we scored 20 points. So, it’s a very good advantage and we’re staying in the lead. But of course, at the end we felt a little bit of frustration. We know that the car is very young and we’ve still got some struggles in these conditions.
“We had a really great start to the rally, I think our pace was very good but unfortunately, to beat Seb you need not only a good pace, you also need to be consistent and have no problems. We had a bit too many problems this weekend.
“Now it’s time for me to look to the future. We’ve got a test to do before the next rally in Greece. We’ll make further improvements to the Polo R WRC then so that we can fight for first place again in four weeks,” he added.
A third of the way into the season, Ogier is now 54 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings, while Volkswagen is 14 points ahead of Citroën in the manufacturers’ championship.