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Brothers-in-arms rally

Australian Rally Championship at Mt Pleasant. Winner Simon Evans (right) with his brother Eli who came second.

They relegating Neal Bates, who'd won all three national rounds so far this year to the bottom step of the podium.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor in their TRD Corolla still lead the Australian Rally Championship on 283 points but Eli Evans-Chris Murphy have closed the gap to be on 226 points and defending champions Simon Evans with wife Sue as co-driver have jumped into third place on 187 points.

It was not only a 1-2 in the SA round for Simon and Eli respectively - Simon's much needed first-round win of the year after crashing out of the Queensland round last month - but also 1-2 in yesterday's Heat 2 led by Eli over Simon.

Conditions on the dirt tracks in the Barossa Valley and Hills yesterday were even more tricky than in Saturday's Heat 1. At one stage dust was coming from wheels on the dirt then it rained a number of times and eventually hail came.

Eli Evans as a privateer in a Subaru Impreza WRX took a stangehold on heat 2 with a blitzing Stage 18, called Floodways. The 23.3km stage was the longest of the rally with fast flowing roads, dips, crests and crossing many floodways. He was a full 15sec quicker that his brother on the stage alone.

“It was tough today,” Simon Evans said of the conditions. “Eli did a fantastic job. He's nuts!”

Heat 1 on Saturday was won by Simon Evans by 40.9 sec from TRD team-mate Bates with Eli Evans third another 40.2sec back and Spencer Lowndes-Chris Randell fourth in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. "The weather nade it extremely tricky,” Simon Evans said. “All I could do was drive smart.”

Michael Guest - David Green (Subaru) had a heavy crash into a tree on stage 5 on Saturday but were uninjured.