British Touring Car Championship rookie Ashley Sutton defies his inexperience in the series to take his first pole at the second time of asking following a pulsating wet-dry qualifying thriller at Donington Park.

A torrential downpour prior to the session meant qualifying was already destined to be an unpredictable affair but a catalogue of red flags - triggered by a frenzy of constant improvements - made for a breath-taking 30 minute showdown.

With the times initially flirting around the 1 minute 19 mark, Mat Jackson led the way in his Motorbase Performance run Ford Focus while Sutton, Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington followed closely in his wake.

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As the track and times continued to improve, Jackson once again found himself in the pound-seat following the penultimate red flag. But, while sitting on pole, the Ford driver threw his opportunity away by spinning off at the Old Hairpin.

MG's Sutton took full advantage of Jackson's demise and posted his time just seconds before the final - and ultimately session ending - red flag came out.

Cook joins his team mate on the front row to complete a triumphant return to the form for the Triple Eight squad.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden defied an early ride-height failure check and salvaged fourth ahead of Tom Ingram in fifth.

Motorbase Performance's Andrew Jordan was another to fall victim of the mandatory ride-height check and was on course to make a full recovery after elevating himself back up into contention.

But Jordan, like his team mate, also speared off the circuit while holding the top spot and eventually fell to 25th.

West Surrey Racing's best effort came in the shape of Rob Collard in sixth while BKR's Aron Smith split the two BMW's of Collard and Jack Goff in seventh.

Championship leader Matt Neal - carrying 75 kilos of ballast - ended up ninth while Jake Hill secured an impressive top ten result ahead of the leading Subaru effort of Colin Turkington in eleventh.