Geoff Portman will fill in for Team Hyundai Rally driver Paul Batten in the final round of the Victorian Rallydrive Excel Series this weekend.

Batten, who briefly led the Alpine Rally two weeks ago in a Datsun 1600, has been forced to step aside after being admitted into hospital where he has since had is appendix removed.  

Batten had been looking forward to the George Derek and is obviously disappointed to be missing the event. By winning this rally it would have given the team a whitewash of the 2007 Rallydrive Hyundai series.

“It’s disappointing; I have heard some good things about the roads and was hoping to secure the final round and the 2007 series,” Batten said from hospital.  

Two-time Australian Rally Champion, Geoff Portman, is fresh from his Excel experience at the recent Rally of Melbourne, but wasn’t expecting to be back in the Kangan Batman TAFE prepared Excel so soon.  

He will be joined by Batten’s regular co-driver, Craig Jones.  They only need to stay in front of the all-girl duo of Emma Cugley and Jo Robison, who currently sit in second position, to give both Batten and Jones the 2007 Rallydrive Hyundai series.  

The battle will be fierce with nine Excels tackling the roads around Rawson, in what is also the final round of the Victorian Rally Championship.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s Mick Gillett, who is a regular in the NSW Excel series and the 2006 NSW Excel Rally Series champion, will also compete, with Victorian Rachel Hale sitting alongside him.

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