The Legendary Tarzan Test: A Highlight of the Greece Rally

The Greece Rally, part of the prestigious World Rally Championship (WRC), features numerous challenging stages, but none are as iconic or demanding as the Tarzan Test in Evrytania. This special stage, originally known as the Fourna and Rentina test, is a 30.3 km stretch renowned for its difficulty and rich history. The stage, named after Giorgos Burgos, a legendary figure known as “Tarzan,” has become a beloved and significant part of the Greece Rally.

Origins of the Tarzan Test

The Tarzan Test derives its name from Giorgos Burgos, a police officer from Fourna in Evrytania who lived in Athens. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis and given only a few months to live, Burgos moved back to his hometown, where he remarkably lived to the age of 92. The Acropolis Rally, now part of the Greece Rally, began passing through his hut in 1975 during its 22nd edition. Initially called the Fourna route, the stage was renamed “Tarzan” in 1979 to honor Burgos, who had become a well-loved figure among drivers and organizers alike.

A Stage of Endurance and Skill

The Tarzan Test is celebrated for its grueling nature, demanding not only from the vehicles but also testing the endurance and skill of the drivers. The stage remained a fixture in the rally from 1979 until 1995, when it was temporarily renamed “Rentina-Tarzan” to reflect the use of its second half. The rugged terrain and challenging conditions make it a true test of rallying prowess.

In the 2003 Acropolis Rally, celebrating the event’s 50th anniversary, a shorter 20.65 km version called “New Tarzan” was introduced, held twice to pay homage to its legacy. Despite its reduced length, the stage retained its notorious difficulty, continuing to challenge even the most seasoned drivers.

Memorable Moments

The Tarzan Test has been the backdrop for numerous memorable moments in rallying history. One notable instance occurred in June 1991, when Didier Auriol, while leading the race, suffered a major setback on this stage. Auriol’s vehicle dismantled a wheel rim and damaged its suspension, causing him to lose the lead and the overall victory. Despite this mishap, Auriol later declared the Tarzan stage his favorite, highlighting the stage’s unique blend of challenge and excitement.

After a period of absence, the Tarzan Test made a triumphant return in the 2021 Greece Rally as the Power Stage, featuring alongside many other classic tests. Its inclusion in the modern rally underscores its enduring legacy and the respect it commands within the rallying community. The stage’s return was met with great enthusiasm from both drivers and fans, eager to see the iconic route once more challenge the best in the sport.