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As revealed yesterday on rallysportmag.com.au, Rick Bates has been confirmed as a substitute driver for Michael Guest in this year's Rally of Melbourne.  Bates will team with Guest's regular co-driver Mark Stacey in the Ford Focus for the final round of the 2006 Australian Rally Championship.

Guest will not take part in the event due to the suspension of his civil drivers licence, despite the fact he competed in Rally SA. 

"We have asked Rick Bates to drive in car in Guest's place," said Ford Racing manager Ray Price. "This decision provides the team, and importantly Rick, some ten days to get to know each other as well as the car going into the Rally of Melbourne. He will get a full day's testing ahead of the event plus drive the Focus at a corporate day."

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