It became a battle for survival for the nine Citroen DS3 R3T drivers over the gravel special stages in the hills above the Algarve. The Frenchman, a former winner of the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo, outlasted his rivals to win by 10min 06.6sec.
However, Bouffier emerged from the final 52.30km Almodovar stage with a worried look on his face after suffering a transmission problem. Fortunately he completed the 56km road section back to the Faro service park where he was able to enjoy the champagne.
Sebastien Chardonnet finished second to retain the championship lead with Quentin Gilbert in third, 25min 51.3sec behind Bouffier.
After a close opening day, a deep river turned the positions upside down yesterday morning when leader Keith Cronin and second-placed Alastair Fisher both stopped in the 100 metre-long crossing when their cars ingested water. While Fisher restarted after an 18-minute delay, category leader Cronin retired.
Bouffier moved to the front and measured his pace for the rest of the event.
Chardonnet dropped more than six minutes after going off the road yesterday, while Gilbert was another to be delayed by the water, losing 17 minutes.
Fisher eventually came home fourth while Cronin restarted to take fifth. Simone Campedelli, another to retire in the infamous river, completed the finishers in sixth.