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Speaking about the incident after returning at Rally di Roma Capital last month, the Japanese driver explained that it was extremely hard for him to get back in the car.

“It was quite tricky at the start because on the first stage most of the corners were hairpins,” Arai said. 

“After three months in a hospital, going straight into this extremely hot rally it’s hard for my physical condition.”

Arai crashed in Croatia and the long road back was not an easy one.

Making his return in Rome in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 equipped with Yokohama tyres, he had to retire on the final morning with an engine issue.

Hiroki Arai as part of the Toyota junior driver program.

He was not on the pace of the front runners, but that was not the goal for the 28-year old, who had only recently been able to stand.

“For the first month I couldn’t even stand up on my own, so I was really pleased to be back in a rally car,” he continued.

“Some of the early stages I took a little bit careful because of the back situation, but the feeling was coming back and I knew some of these stages from two years ago. 

“That helped quite a lot and I enjoyed it, but I’m a little bit stiff because I couldn’t do any stretching for quite a long time,” Arai concluded.

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Luke Whitten

Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.
Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.

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