Why it was a perfect ERC start for Arai
Japan’s Hiroki Arai enjoyed the perfect beginning to his Barum Czech Rally Zlín debut earlier this month after his famous rally-driving father Toshi flagged him over the start ramp.
Arai Sr, a competitor in the FIA European and world championships in the past, was a welcomed visitor to the sealed-surface event, which his son was contesting in a Team STARD Citroën C3 R5 alongside Austrian co-driver Ilka Minor.
Asked about Hiroki Arai’s performances in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, Toshi Arai said: “It’s not so bad because he’s on the Yokohama development tyre, which is getting better and better but still needs more development. He’s very, very fast and he’s also driving in the Japanese championship now. He’s much, much faster than me and I’m so angry for this but he’s a new-generation driver!”
Hiroki Arai, who dropped out of Barum Czech Rally Zlín contention with an early off, said: “I was a bit surprised [to see him with the flag] but it was nice and I really loved the atmosphere. It was a shame we couldn’t complete the stages but that’s how it is.”
Arai Sr confirmed his son’s plans for 2020 centre around a European championship campaign, confirming he was “looking at some sponsors to continue in ERC”.