The story of mis­taken iden­tity, a stew­ards’ meet­ing and one Euro­pean fron­trun­ner’s foul play

MN’S le­gendary na­tional rally ed­i­tor, the late DKW, was at the 1988 event for the ti­tle and he un­earthed a story re­lat­ing to the Euro crews and a back­fir­ing ap­peal. Here’s the story from MN, Septem­ber 21 1988.

Motor Sport News - - Retro: Rally Isle Of Man -

One of the most bizarre, not to say dis­taste­ful in­ci­dents of the rally was a protest against Pa­trick Sni­jers/ Dany Cole­bun­ders by Fabrizio Ta­ba­ton/lu­ciano Tedes­chini. The Ital­ians al­leged that Sni­jers had ser­viced il­le­gally be­tween the first and sec­ond stages, along Sulby straight.

Noth­ing was said at the time, Ta­ba­ton only re­veal­ing his in­ten­tions dur­ing the af­ter­noon of the sec­ond day, by which time Sni­jers was look­ing in­creas­ingly com­fort­able in the lead. Since no Judge of Fact had been present one might have ex­pected the mat­ter to be dis­missed on the spot, but Ta­ba­ton gave pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence, and a stew­ards’ meet­ing was called.

He main­tained that the fact that it was Sni­jers, his main cham­pi­onship ri­val, was not the point; he wanted to es­tab­lish whether re­stric­tions on the ser­vic­ing were real or sham. “It is im­por­tant to know what is cor­rect or what is not cor­rect,” he de­clared.

Pro­drive vig­or­ously de­nied al­le­ga­tions that it had ser­viced il­le­gally. “I think he’s just try­ing to throw our rhythm,” stated the team man­ager John Spiller.

The protest fell flat well be­fore the stew­ards’ meet­ing. When Ta­ba­ton’s film was de­vel­oped, it re­vealed a picture of a car re­ceiv­ing il­le­gal ser­vice, but it was Droog­mans’ Sierra, not Sni­jers BMW, and Droog­mans had re­tired that morn­ing. Ta­ba­ton could only apol­o­gise, both to Sni­jers, and later on, the stew­ards. His £100 protest fee was not re­turned.

The next morn­ing, one of the Gri­fone [Ta­ba­ton’s team] ser­vice barges crashed into a peat bog while avoid­ing a car. It was towed out by Pro­drive.

Ta­ba­ton’s stew­ards en­quiry failed

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