From Ford Press [ 25/02/2005 ].
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Jan Tománek, co-driver to Roman Kresta in the BP-Ford World Rally Team, is stepping down with immediate effect. The 32-year-old Czech, who has partnered Kresta throughout his career, has been forced to pause on medical advice after 12 years in the sport.
Kresta's co-driver for the rest of the season will be 29-year-old Jan Mozný. He will make his debut in a BP Ultimate-branded Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on next month's Rally Mexico, round three of the FIA World Rally Championship. Mozný, from Prague, has been part of Kresta's safety crew since 2003 and worked with the BP-Ford team in that role on this year's Monte Carlo Rally in January.
"I'm very disappointed at having to step down but it is impossible to ignore such medical advice," said Tománek. "I was looking forward to a successful season with the BP-Ford team and to finish in the points on each of the first two rounds, and help Ford into the lead of the manufacturers' series, was the perfect start. However, I'm sure Roman will settle in quickly with Jan and I wish them both the best of luck for the rest of the season."
Kresta has been partnered by Tománek on all but three of his 22 WRC starts. "This is a sad time for Jan and myself," he said. "We worked well together and have progressed through the sport from the bottom level to an official drive with Ford in the world championship. I would like to thank Jan for all his support and hard work during our partnership. Now I must work hard with my new co-driver in Mexico and the rest of the season to ensure that we work just as well."
Mozný made his debut as a driver in 1996 in the Czech Republic and won his class in the national championship the following season. Having switched to co-driving, he finished third in the Czech championship in 2002 alongside Karel Trojan after winning the opening round. In 2003 he was second in Group N in the national rallysprint championship alongside Martin Prokop. The Rally Mexico will be his first world rally.
"This a dream come true for me but I share everyone's disappointment for Jan," said Mozný. "Mexico will be my world championship debut and it will be hard for both of us. But I have known Roman for two years and having worked in his safety crew I know his pace note style. I attended his pre-event test before the Monte Carlo Rally so I know many people and I feel at home in this team."
Mozný will fly to southern Spain on Sunday to partner Kresta on Wednesday during the BP-Ford team's five-day development test with the Focus RS.