Jason Plato posted a record-breaking lap in qualifying at Oulton Park to give Racing Silverline a first pole position in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The 2001 series champion broke the lap record at the Cheshire circuit with a stunning lap of 1min 27.186secs at the wheel of his Chevrolet Lacetti to head an all-Silverline front row ahead of team-mate Mat Jackson. Such was Plato's performance that over four-tenths of a second split the pair at the head of the field.

"The car felt fast straight out of the box this morning in practice," Plato insisted. "It's always great to get pole but to do it at what is still only our fourth event with this car is very satisfying."

Colin Turkington was third quickest for Team RAC and has put himself in a good position to close the 13 point gap to Matt Neal in the points standings after the series leader could only manage the tenth quickest time.

"Jason and Mat are tough nuts and I'd expect any gaps to close pretty quickly," Turkington said. "I think Mat a few years ago started third in a BMW and led into the first bend but there are no guarantees.

"If I can take the lead and win then of course it's a better result but I'm not going to throw any points away."

Turkington will be joined on the second row of the grid by Adam Jones, who continued the solid pace he showed in the second practice session to secure fourth place at the wheel of his Cartridge World SEAT Leon.

Jonathan Adam will start fifth for Airwaves BMW and shares row three with double champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, who admitted the conditions hadn't helped his challenge.

"It wasn't the start I wanted for this weekend," he said. "I don't think it was the set up that was a problem; I think it was the change of weather that has been the biggest issue. Our car is longer than the others and suffered more on the front tyres.

"This morning, and even in testing, when it was colder, it was a completely different car. I don't think that the weight was such a problem, as we saw from Turkington, but it is definitely the heat that is the biggest challenge. We don't think it will be any different tomorrow, so we'll need to look at setup changes for these conditions."

Stephen Jelley and Andrew Jordan round out the top eight, while Rob Collard was ninth quickest and shares row five with Neal.

"We always knew it was going to be a tough circuit when you are carrying weight, but this was exaggerated today with the heat," the points leader said. "The car feels good but I just can't seem to wring that extra bit of time out of it, but we are carrying maximum ballast. We'll continue to work on race setup. We need a setup that works for us for a whole race not just the start. Tyre wear will be critical as well, but we'll be looking to improve on our grid position, we're certainly not giving up yet."

Harry Vaulkhard set the eleventh quickest time ahead of double Donington winner James Thompson, while home hero Paul O'Neill starts 13th - just ahead of improving Ford pair Tom Chilton and Alan Morrison.

New boy James Nash will take the start of his first BTCC race from 16th on the grid.