Former Australian Formula 2 Rally Champion Rick Bates will drive the Pirtek Rally Team Ford Focus at the NGK Rally of Melbourne on 22-23 September.
Regular driver Michael Guest will not take part in the event due to the suspension of his civil road license. Guest's civil road license is suspended for three months for a speeding violation.
"We have asked Rick Bates to drive the 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 ride day.
"Rick is a vastly experience driver, and combined with Mark Stacey as co-driver, he is sure to perform admirably in the Focus at the Rally of Melbourne."