Australian Rally Championship driver and CAMS AIS Driver Development Program squad member, Paul Batten, will miss the next round of the Victorian Rally Championship and Rallydrive Hyundai Rally Series as he heads to Sydney for World Youth Day.

The final mass will see Pope Benedict and 500,000 young people gather at the Randwick Racecourse to end the week-long event attracting pilgrims from around the world.

For Batten, who currently leads the 2WD Victorian Rally Championship, missing the George Derrick Memorial Rally was a tough choice that will surely cost him the championship lead.

"We all make big sacrifices for our sport, and I have never missed a rally since I started driving, but the World Youth Day in Australia is a once in a lifetime thing for me, having grown up a Catholic.

“My faith has given me a lot and it will be pretty amazing sharing this experience with half a million people," he said.

Batten has yet to compete in an ARC event this year, despite winning last year’s Privateers’ Challenge, however plans are afoot to contest an event before the year is out.

"I am really commited to getting back out there this year. I need to be in a faster car and have a well organised team around me. It just comes down to car availability and dollars at the moment," he added.

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