Just before Acropolis Rally (September 8-11) battle, where they will compete in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, Manos and Kostas Stefanis answer questions in a more relaxed… style! There are only a few days left until the Acropolis Rally, which will be the 10th round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) on September 8-11. This year’s race is the return of Manos and Kostas Stefanis to racing action, with the duo sharing a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, in the context of WRC 2. The preparation and technical support of the car has been undertaken by the Italian GB Motors.
The sponsors of the participation of Manos and Costas Stefanis in the Acropolis Rally are Hyundai Hellas and CoralA.E. – Shell License.
A few days before the arrival of the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 in our country, as well as the holding of a day of development tests, Manos and Kostas Stefanis took the opportunity to carry out a “final charge” of their batteries, in view of the Acropolis Rally. This was the right occasion for them to answer a different ‘Q&A’, combining the seriousness required, with a relaxed mood which is also necessary, especially at this time of the year.
Where are you as you answer these questions?
Manos: To my beloved Patmos island.
Kostas: With my granddaughter Filianna we catch cicadas, listen to them sing and release them again.
With what drink in hand, are you processing your answers?
Manos: Carbonated water with lots of ice and a slice of lime.
Kostas: With cold water.
How do you feel with the 2022 Acropolis Rally just around the corner?
Manos: Happy, as we are given the opportunity to participate in our national race.
Kostas: I can’t wait to be at the starting point of another Acropolis Rally in its new form, but with its classic difficulties. Its name confirms it: Acropolis Rally!
What is your biggest anxiety in the lead up to the race?
Manos: To manage to have a problem-free race as possible, as the Akropolis Rally is always a huge challenge for both the crews and the cars.
Kostas: I don’t have any anxiety, I just wish that we have a problem-free race.
Looking at the 70 entries of the Acropolis Rally, of which 35 are WRC2 (for Rally2 cars) where you participate, how do your own goals shape up and what do you think of the level of competition?
Manos: Our main goal is to manage to cover all the kilometers of the race, in order to place ourselves as high as possible among the Greek crews. The level of competition will certainly be very high with so many entries, while once again the Acropolis Rally is surrounded by many notable Greek entries
Kostas: There are two levels of competition: that of professionals and that of Greek and foreign amateurs. At the first level of professionals, the competition is at a very high level and of course, we don’t even think that we can look them in the eyes when it comes to the times on the special stages. It would be utopia, but also nonsense.
At the level of amateurs to which our participation belongs, we will clearly face the respective competition with respect since we have a 15-year absence from active action to our credit, with the exception of a Sprint rally in 2015. Our goal is to move nimbly and problem-free , while at the same time as the kilometers pass and Manos owns the car, let’s move even faster.
Mano, which memory from Rally Acropolis in which Kostas participated comes first to your mind and why?
Manos: The finishes at Zappeion in the early 90s! They were particularly emotionally charged and as I was a small child, they are indelibly etched in my memory.
What is your favorite special route of those included in this year’s Acropolis Rally?
Manos: I would say that Tarzan is my all-time favorite special stage.
Kostas: Tarzan and Bauxites stand out in my heart.
Do you have a story to tell us about your favorite special stage this year?
Manos: Tarzan is located just a few kilometers from my grandfather’s place of origin and more specifically from the village of Tsouka, so it has always been intertwined with my roots, in or out of racing cars.
Kostas: It must have been one of the last times we ran the triplet of special routes on the way back to Athens, driven by Jigger: Rahula, Neraida, Tarzan.
Due to a tight schedule and lack of service, we would be served by the official Lancia Martini team outside Tarzan’s house, to change four tires and refuel us. Arriving, the mechanics applied jacks to the front and rear, lifting the car into the air, while two others on the right and left held the car steady so it wouldn’t fall away from them. On the Jigger side we were surprised to find that the car was being held by the window frame by Cesare Fiorio, Abarth Team Manager or “Capo di tutti capi” as the Italians called him.
This was a huge honor and surprise of course, and then I heard Jigger say to me over the helmet intercom, because there was no time to take them off: “Where’s a photographer to have this historic moment in the photo album!”
Close your eyes and dream. As soon as you open your eyes, what special stage and what car are you on?
Manos: In the Flying of the special stage Eleftherochori 2 with the Hyundai i20 N Rally2…
Kostas: Mountainous Nafpaktia, end of May, 80s with rain in the special stage Elatovrisi, but the cabin temperature in the Quattro is between 60-65 degrees Celsius. Jigger works with his left foot on the brake, the turbo is constantly running on boost and the car literally rockets from corner to corner.
Who is your favorite driver?
Manos: Juha Kankkunen and Jigger
Kostas: Markku Alen
More information about Manos and Kostas Stefanis, the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 as well as high-resolution photographic material, can be found through the team’s specialized microsite
Bonus: Watch in a video, Kostas Stefanis telling a favorite story of his, directly intertwined with the historical Tarzan special route.