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Ty Tessmann stamped his authority on the 15th Dirt Nitro Challenge in Phoenix, AZ – repeating his 2012 result of a double victory in the buggy & truck class. Dakotah Phend led the pack away at the start but a bad landing on lap 1 handed the lead to his main rival Tessmann who never looked back, clocking off not-the-fastest laps but running consistently fast out front. Tessmann initially came under pressure from Tebo and then Ronnefalk as the Swede built up a 5 second lead however three separate flameouts (due to a cut air filter pipe) whilst pitting for fuel cost him a shot at the win, quite unbelievable that he recovered to take 4th despite those troubles at a race of this prestige.

Reno Savoya kept Tessmann honest outfront however the Frenchman gapped Tessmann but never really made any inroads into the Canadian’s lead, and by the time Phend got past with 10 to go, he had to push too hard which resulted in a few mistakes. The late night race seemingly throwing quite a few spanners in the works as drivers suffered flame outs, broken cars and more, some especially struggling with temperatures and tyres.

Watch the 45min Final courtesy of LiveRC below!

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Savoya came under late pressure from Ronnefalk – a repeat of the 2013 European final protagonists, however this time Savoya claiming the last podium spot, another mature drive from the hard working XRAY driver. It turned out to be an AKA dominated final however missing out on the podium, likewise for Team Associated as the RC8 prototypes failed to live up to the hype, Maifield breaking early on and Cavalieri running 5th at best for some time until he ended up 10th.

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The 15th annual Dirt Nitro Challenge final race of the day got underway just past the 08:20 PM mark with XRAY’s Tyler Vik, defending Champion Ryan Maifield & Josh Wheeler bumping from the B main, upfront however it would be Phend on pole with Tessmann right behind in P2.

Phend would crash on the opening lap dropping him way back into the pack, promoting Tessmann, Tebo and Ronnefalk, with Pettit pushing hard in 4th racing with Savoya early on.
Lap 3 and there was no running and hiding as Tebo crashed, pushing Ronnefalk into 2nd, Savoya 3rd. A small bobble from Tessmann on the left sweeper saw Ronnefalk take the inside line and take the lead with Tessmann close behind. Cavalieri at the time moving into 3rd.

5 mins in and Ronnefalk had built a gap of about a second, the e-buggy Champion clearly enjoying challenging the Fear Farm track. Tessmann, Tebo, Savoya, King, Pettit and Phend recovering in 7th.

It wasn’t long before Tebo would pass Tessmann as the Canadian crashed, giving Ronnefalk a 5sec cushion, the woes continued for Maifield as he flamed out 7:30 mins in – a new Champion would be crowned.

8mins and in the fuel stop Ronnefalk flamed out, disaster for the Swede who compounded his feelings by crashing on the pit exit. Also for Jared Tebo as 10mins his Orion also died, going from a 1,2 to nothing.

The order would changed drastically as Tessmann would inherit the lead with Savoya 2nd 3 secs back and Ronnefalk 3rd with Phend just behind in 4th.

13mins in and it was clear that Ronnefalk had the bit between his teeth running mid-low 44sec laps compared with mid 45s for Tessmann & Savoya – perhaps pacing themselves for the long haul.

15 mins gone and pitstop number 2 and flame out #2, an embarrassing event which will have cost the European Champion any shot at victory.

Back up front and steady pace from Tessmann, 18 mins had a healthy 9 sec lead from Savoya with Phend moving into 3rd with Cody King 4th. However Tessmann looked comfortable in the lead, consolidating a 11sec lead 20mins in with Phend quickly closing on Savoya for 2nd.

Lap 30 and Phend smashes the lap record with a 43.938, on the back of a crashed lap, although in this game consistency is key, fastest laps don’t win you the big trophy.

28 mins in and Savoya trying his best to keep Tessmann honest 9 secs behind, whilst Phend’s charge had slowed somewhat, 6 secs behind Savoya.

With only 12 mins to go, Tessmann was still pounding away at the front, maybe not the fastest, but the most clean and consistent up front as other challengers fell by the wayside. However it was looking an increasingly tall order for Savoya or Phend to catch the young Canadian, something having to go wrong for him to not win.

Lap 47 and Phend had cruise control on and had caught Savoya, Phend easily going past the flying Frenchman as Savoya crashed on the step up. Afurther crash a lap later in the same place would give Phend breathing space. All the while Tessmann out front with a 13 sec lead now over new P2 man Phend.

6:45 min to go and flame out number 3 for David Ronnefalk who had caught Savoya for 3rd, the Swede will leave the Dirt Nitro Challenge asking himself ‘what if’.

With 5 mins to go Tessmann came in for his last stop and the 10 sec gap was all that stood between Phend and Tessmann, however Tessmann clocking off clean laps with the pressure on Phend to catch him. 3 mins to go and a small mistake from Tessmann cost him 4 secs however a bobble from Phend meant he couldn’t quite capitalise, Tessmann still had 7secs of clean air behind him.

2mins to go and Ronnefalk managed to squeeze past Savoya, the French star struggling slightly it would seem, however a further mistake from Ronnefalk allowed Savoya past again. Tessmann looked mighty upfront and closed in on another Double Dirt Nitro Challenge victory. Phend taking 2nd, recovering from a bad first lap, Savoya as we’ve seen before drove well, not the fastest car but brought it home, Ronnefalk will be left with a bitter taste after being let down by his engine, however taking nothing away from Tessmann as the Canadian repeated his 2012 feat.