Updated: May 31, 2020
Heading into the 10th round, there was only 75 points to fight for left in the season, so both Bailes and Cleland needed the best results they could get.
Cleland and Bailes both lining up on the front row was certainly a good start.
Behind them, were Sibbald, Teymourian and Wood - all three in the top 10 in the championship standings - Wood, starting in 5th, 3rd in the championship points.
Truswell would qualify 13th.
Drivers Outside 107% Rule (1:44.469)
17th: Adam Christodoulou - 1:57.543
18th: Michael Proper - 2:01.591
No Time Set: Jeff Bucknum
No Time Set: Nicholas Daman
The red lights came on, Money would creep forward an inch, before stopping, before the lights would go out and another COVID Cup race was underway, Sibbald would get mobbed off the line after a poor start as the championship fighters went side by side as they headed into turn one.
After a clean start by all, by the "MOTHERS" bridge, the field had sorted themselves out into single file - Cleland would lead, followed hotly by Bailes, Teymourian a little further back with Roodenberg chasing.
Wood would follow in 5th, Bradley would be in 6th and after an a strong start start (Achille) Gaubert would be 7th place after starting from 12th!
Rounding out the top ten behind Gaubert was Riddles, Conway and Sibbald- as they went through "Mothers Corner" (Corner after Mothers Bridge) Sibbald would put a wheel too wide and lose the position to Money behind.
Behind the recovered Sibbald was Honeyman, Christodoulou, Truswell and then JM L. Following Jm L, Proper and Taylor were making a very late debut to the COVID Cup series in front of Herring, Daman and Bucknum bringing up the rear.
Truswell would go wide at the exit of Turn 8, shortly allowing Jm L past, before Jm L would spin at the next corner. Behind him, Herring's day would only become harder. As Truswell had done, Taylor went wide at turn 8, but he wasn't so lucky...the loose surface pitched him into a half-spin and at the speed he was going, Honeyman had no way to avoid the spinning car and collected into Taylor - doing extensive damage to both cars.
At the end of the lap, Christodoulou would pass Herring into the final corner as Money pitted to serve his jump-start penalty. Cleland was strong at Laguna - very strong - and despite Bailes looking to get past a couple of times, Cleland held him off.
At the start of lap 2, Bailes looked to get around the outside of Cleland for turn one, but couldn't make it work, even though he was later on the brakes.
The final nail in the coffin for Bailes was at turn 4, when the back end stepped out. With Cleland taking the optimal line Cleland only further extended the gap
By the start of the third lap, all the gaps had broadened out - and with nobody having a particular advantage over anyone else, the race turned a little stale....but would pick up later on.
Sibbald and Christodoulou were the only one to make a move during that lap and both passed Conway. Sibbald was almost going to pass Riddles too, but locked up at the final corner, allowing Riddles to escape.
At the back of the grid, Bucknum managed to pass Daman.
On lap 3, Gaubert continued to steal the spot-light, making one of the fair few moves on that lap, passing Wood for 5th place.
Sibbald and also managed to get past Riddles before the braking zone of turn one, before Christodoulou did the same a few corners later at turn four.
Money's day wouldn't get any easier as he would hit the barrier after putting a wheel too wide at the penultimate corner.
The start of lap 4 saw Herring emerge from the pits after getting repairs on the opening lap.
Sibbald wasn't hanging around, as later on in this lap, he'd pass Bradley too, putting himself into a comfortable 6th place.
Outside of the top 10 - Jm L would gain two positions on this lap after passing Daman on entry to turn 8, and Bucknum (who spun, before retiring from the race) at the exit of the same corner.
Just behind a lonely Herring, Taylor would pass Proper for 16th - the first of the non-scoring positons, they'd have contact the following lap - allowing Taylor to escape.
Lap 5 came quicker than expected, and after Wood left the door open for turn one, Sibbald would slip down the inside...this group would stay together for the remainder of the lap.
In other news, Proper would brake too late at turn four and heftily smack into the barrier - retiring from the race not long after.
The battle for 5th would remain close, but the same as the group headed onto the 6th lap...little did Sibbald know that his race was about to be ruined.