Andrew Jordan has secured his first HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position after a dramatic conclusion to the qualifying session at Donington Park.
The VX Racing teenager had posted the second quickest time during the session behind team-mate and double champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, but the Italian was then stripped of his times when his Vectra failed to restart after being stopped on the weighbridge at the end of the session.
As a result, the Italian will drop to the rear of the field for the opening race, with work to do on race day if he is to come through the pack and put further pressure on points leader Matt Neal.
Following Giovanardi's penalty, the front row of the grid will have an unfamiliar appearance after Harry Vaulkhard produced easily his best qualifying performance to date to set the quickest time – showing that his performance in the second free practice session was no fluke as he ended up just 0.015secs behind Jordan.
“I've had a tough opening few rounds so needed something like this to give me a boost," Jordan said. "It was down to me to string all the three sectors together in one lap and I managed it. The car feels fantastic. I hear it could rain tomorrow – if it's damp but we all started on slick tyres I'd like that. I love racing in tricky conditions and my rallycross experience would come in handy.”
James Thompson took third for Team Dynamics at a circuit where the double champion predicted the Honda Civic would run strongly, while he will joined on the second row of the grid by Jason Plato in the first of the Racing Silverline Lacettis.
Stephen Jelley, who set the pace in both free practice sessions, will start from fifth alongside Rob Collard – who was one of three drivers, along with Airwaves BMW team-mate Johnny Adam and Cartridge World's Adam Jones - stripped of times during the session for failing the ride height test – while Colin Turkington, Matt Neal, Adam and Mat Jackson round out the top ten.
There was marked improvement for Team Aon, with Alan Morrison in 13th place and Tom Chilton 16th, but there was disappointment for sunshine.co.uk's Martyn Bell after he spun off and failed to set a time. The mechanical issues that had affected Nick Leason and Dan Eaves earlier in the day also meant that the AFM and Cartridge World drivers failed to make it out onto the circuit.