MG's Jason Plato has kept the pressure on BTCC champion elect Colin Turkington after claiming a dramatic pole-position following a wet-dry Brands Hatch qualifying thriller.

While proceedings kicked off on the damp but progressively drying GP circuit, Plato and MG immediately hit the ground running on the wet Dunlop tyre to grab the initial ascendency as runners behind debated on which tyre to resume the tyre on.

Alarms bells soon began to ring when Plato and Triple Eight could no longer improve on their then current best. Meanwhile Honda's Matt Neal threw a spanner in the works who managed to further improve to provisional pole-position on the wet tyre.

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However, as Neal continued to set purple sectors, the majority of the field began to switch to dry rubber as the circuit continued to get quicker and quicker.

Frustratingly for the rest of the pack, the track conditions meant that it took a number of laps to warm the slick tyres to their optimum temperature.

BMR's Alain Menu brilliantly shown his vast experience as the first runner to switch to the slicks and the grip rewarded him with an enthralling brace of flying laps which sent him to the top as the timesheets began to light up like a fruit machine.

Honda's Gordon Shedden and MG's Plato joined the party to deny Menu a famous return pole-position in the series.

At one point five-former champions assumed the top-five positions but Plato, Shedden and Turkington were the only ones who could hang on to the top spots.

Dave Newsham then span off the circuit through the GP section, which triggered a red-flag and ultimately halting a grandstand end to the session.

Plato, Sam Tordoff, Shedden, Turkington and Adam Morgan completed the top five ahead of Fabrizio Giovanardi who enjoyed his best qualifying performance since his return.

United Autosports' James Cole also took advantage of the conditions to claim his best ever BTCC starting slot ahead of Mat Jackson and Nick Foster while Dave Newsham completed the top ten.

Despite leading the session at certain points, Menu ended 13th as Neal, amazingly, could fare no better than 22nd.