Jason Plato will start at the front of the grid for the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Rockingham having stormed to pole in qualifying for the latest rounds of the season.

The MG driver posted a best time of 1min 22.350secs which was good enough to see him break the qualifying lap record at the wheel of his MG6 GT, preventing team-mate Sam Tordoff from taking pole in the process.

"I knew if we did everthing right we'd be on pole but that's the frustration sometimes this season as we've made too many mistakes," Plato said. "We hold our hands up when we make mistakes but now we need to sharpen up because this is obviously a really tough championship.

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"It's an important pole position and great that both Sam and I are up there, but we've got a tough job to do tomorrow. Sam is out there for himself too so there'll be no protection but I am looking forward to it as I think there'll be some great racing."

Tordoff joins Plato on the front row having come out on top of a heated battle for position with the Audi of Rob Austin while Andrew Jordan joins Austin on row two at the wheel of his Honda Civic.

Defending champion Gordon Shedden picked up his worst qualifying result of the year so far but still lines up fifth, with the top six completed by Jeff Smith. Current points leader Matt Neal and Speedworks driver Dave Newsham round out the top eight.

The session was briefly halted when Frank Wrathall suffered a spin into the gravel at Chapman, leaving him down the order in 19th spot.

Lea Wood, who can wrap up the Jack Sears Trophy this weekend if results go his way, was fastest of the S2000 runners in 24th place.