With the roads a mixture of dry asphalt, patchy snow and black ice, Loeb's nearest rival Sebastien Ogier took a careful approach.
The Volkswagen driver had already made it clear that as Loeb was not a title threat, he was quite happy to settle for second behind the Citroen man on this rally.
Loeb goes into the final day with a lead of just over one minute and forty-seven seconds.
M-Sport Ford driver Evgeny Novikov is now up to third place. He benefited from Dani Sordo spinning on the St Nazaire le Desert to La Mott stage, but the Citroen responded on Sisteron to close back to within 1.7s.
Fifth position also changed hands. Mikko Hirvonen struggled withoverheating brakes on his Citroen during Sisteron, as VW rival Jari-Matti Latvala made a breakthrough with his Polo R WRC and delivered his best stage of the rally so far.
Second fastest behind Loeb meant Latvala vaulted 15s clear of Hirvonen.
Juho Hanninen still holds seventh, ahead of M-Sport team-mate Mads Ostberg, who was fastest on SS13.
- Sports & Recreation