Jason Plato has picked up his second pole position of the season after leading the way in qualifying for the sixth round of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton.
The Racing Silverline driver, who paced the opening practice session of the weekend, posted a quickest time of 1min 12.247secs at the wheel of his Chevrolet Lacetti to secure pole ahead of points leader Colin Turkington.
Despite showing front-running pace throughout the day however, Plato will now face the challenge of trying to remain ahead of Turkington's fast-starting BMW as he looks to add to his one victory so far this season.
“Colin's BMW has rear-wheel-drive and we all know what that can do off the start,” he said. “He will be in front of me pretty quickly… unless we tangle.”
Turkington meanwhile only just edged out the Team Dynamics Honda of James Thompson to secure his place on the front row of the grid, with the pair split by just 0.051secs on the timesheets. Matt Neal, currently second in the standings behind Turkington, matched Thompson's time late on in the session to go fourth quickest but then had his fastest time annulled for missing part of the Esses.
As a result, the VX Racing driver drops to ninth on the grid and faces a challenge to try and close Turkington's 25 point advantage at the head of the standings.
“It was a tough qualifying and I think it'll be a very busy day for everyone tomorrow, as this circuit is notorious for being the battle ground of very exciting, close racing,” Neal reflected. “Although it was getting cooler this afternoon we were still hoping for rain, as we know we're strong in wet conditions, but it didn't happen.”
Neal's penalty allowed team-mate Andrew Jordan
to move up to fourth as the leading Vauxhall driver, although the teenager conceded that he was disappointed not to challenge for pole as he ultimately ended up two-tenths shy of pole. Defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi
will head up row three ahead of the first of the Airwaves BMWs in the hands of Jonathan Adam.
Mat Jackson will start from seventh, although he admitted that he was hoping for rain on race day after continually losing time in the second sector of the lap, while Paul O'Neill made the most of the speed of his older Honda Integra to secure eighth. Neal starts ninth and will share row five with Stephen Jelley
as the Team RAC man returns to the scene of his testing accident during the summer.