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Kopecky forced to miss Ypres

Jan Kopecky has been forced to withdraw from the Ypres Rally as his co-driver Petr Stary was injured in the duo's crash at shakedown yesterday.

Kopecky's Skoda Fabia hit a bridge at a fourth-gear corner during the test. Initially both crew members appeared to have escaped serious inury, but Stary awoke with pain in his right collarbone during the night. He will go to hospital for a full examination today, but a broken collarbone is suspected.

Skoda spokesman Karel Pokorny said: "The pain was worse than yesterday on his right side and when Petr tried to sit in the car this morning with the seatbelt on there was no chance to breathe normally."

Kopecky has therefore pulled out of this weekend's Belgian round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. He had looked likely to move to the head of the championship during the event, as current points leader Juho Hanninen is not contesting Ypres.

"We had a good chance to be in a good position at the finish of the rally so the disappointment is huge," said Kopecky, who sits just three points behind Hanninen in the standings. "However, Petr's health is the priority."

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