And it would have been four in a row but for the line-up being controversially scratched from the results of the 1966 Monte. The way their headlights dipped was reckoned to have infringed complex regulations, which said that any car entering must come off a standard production line with at least 5000 cars built to a similar specification.
The first three cars home in the rally were all British Motor Corporation Mini Coopers – Timo Mäkinen followed by Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk. But they, along with six other British drivers including Rosemary Smith who was first in the Coupe des Dames in a Hillman Imp, were ruled out of the prizes, elevating Pauli Toivonen in a works Citroën to the win.
The British entrants cried foul, noting that their lights were the same as used in previous Montes and smelling a rat as it elevated a French car to victory. But BMC and Ford protests, which elevated eventually all the way to the top of the FIA, had no effect.
There was subsequent talk of a British boycott and even of the end of the event, though neither came to pass – as noted Mini was back to win the following year. Nevertheless, the Monte’s reputation was dented.