Arai leads Japan’s Rally of Nations lineup

Hiroki Arai and Ishii Hironao will both drive Subarus, bringing a truly Japanese flavor to Rally of Nations

Hiroki Arai

Hiroki Arai will lead Team Japan at next month’s Rally of Nations Guanajuato, with the León-based event demonstrating the true global nature of the competition.

The 28-year-old son of former World Rally Championship star Toshi Arai will join Ishii Hironao in an all-Subaru squad for the April 1-3 event.

Highly regarded in his Japanese homeland, a limited program of WRC events means Arai Jr is well known around the world. But this will be his – and Hironao’s – first trip to compete in México.

“Hiroki and Ishii coming to Guanajuato to compete demonstrates the full reach of Rally of Nations,” said event manager Gilles Spitalier. “Japan is a nation which is really important to us here in the state of Guanajuato – we have more than 5,000 Japanese living right here with us in the state [of Guanajuato].


“Anybody who has watched the fantastic growth of the auto industry right here on our doorstep, with Honda, Mazda and Toyota all represented will understand why there’s this fantastic Japanese community growing.

“But the most important thing for me is the way Rally of Nations will spread the word and the message of competition in a beautiful part of the world like Guanajuato. We all know how much the fans in Japan love our sport and we’re sure Ishii and Hiroki will go home to tell incredible stories about our incredible roads.

“It’s truly a pleasure to have them with us.”

Team Norway will deliver a strong line-up with top WRC privateer Eyvind Brynildsen joining Mads Østberg.

Dave Carapetyan and Mike Glover form a strong USA pairing, both running Rally Ready Subarus.

Alberto Battistolli and Andrea Mabellini will drive under the Italian flag, while 23-year-old Finn Roope Korhonen joins Harri Rovanperä in Finland’s corner.