Jason Plato has secured his third pole position of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season after carrying his practice pace into qualifying at Knockhill.

The Racing Silverline driver had run in the top two in both free practice sessions and showed that the Chevrolet Lacetti is the car to beat around the tight and twisty Fife circuit by taking top spot on the grid. Plato will now chase a seventh victory at the circuit in order to keep his title hopes alive, although the 2001 champion has already admitted that his hopes of winning the crown are slim.

"I've said before it's win or bust from now on," he said. "It's my only way back and even then it requires the others to make a bit of a mess of it. While it's still possible I'll never give up, but I expect three very hard races tomorrow."

Plato's pole wouldn't have been a popular one with the locals however, as he prevented the home crowd from seeing an all-Scottish front row.

Gordon Shedden will start on the front row after producing the best qualifying performance to date for the Cartridge World Carbon Zero Racing team. Having run second behind Plato in the second free practice session, the former Team Halfords man was able to impress again in qualifying to take second on the grid.

"It's a great result," he said. "We're a one-car team this weekend and to be second to Jason Plato and the might and experience of the RML team that runs his car is no disgrace."

The second Scot in the field, Jonathan Adam, produced an impressive performance to secure third on the grid, despite a trip across the gravel early in the session. He will share the second row of the grid with points leader Colin Turkington, with the pair looking to make the most of the rear-wheel drive prowess of their BMWs to jump to the front, as will Adam's team-mate Rob Collard from fifth in the grid.

"It's great to be right up there in the top three with Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden," Adam said. "I had a small off into the gravel early in the session but managed to recover and get quicker and quicker as the session went on. It's nice to have two Scots in with a great shout of going for a win tomorrow. Qualifying as the fastest BMW driver is also a big boost.

"I'll be looking to attack the guys in front but it will be really tough as they are both so experienced and know their way around Knockhill. I've put myself in a good position to do something special in front of my home fans though I will be giving it one hundred percent all the way."

Mat Jackson will start from sixth in the second of the Silverline Chevrolets, with Vauxhall pair Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan settling into seventh and eighth. Stephen Jelley and Paul O'Neill round out the top ten, although there was disappointment for the latter after he went off in the sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra having just gone second quickest. Forced to sit out the remainder of the session, he could only watch as others bettered his time.

Defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi will have work to do from eleventh on the grid ahead of Tom Chilton and James Thompson, while Harry Vaulkhard, David Pinkney, John George and Martin Johnson round out the grid.

"It's difficult to pinpoint the reasons why we are so far off our usual pace," Giovanardi said of his session. "I don't think we had enough temperature in the tyres and that's part of the problem. At the beginning of the season we had the car working well in cooler conditions, then in the last few weekends we've got the car working for the hotter weather, now we're back to cooler conditions and maybe we need to bring the car back too, but we just didn't get it there today. We didn't do anything drastic, but we just need to make some more changes to accommodate the track conditions."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment