Honda's Matt Neal has taken his 18th career British Touring Car Championship pole position after eclipsing his own record from last season during qualifying at Thruxton.

For the second year in a row, the three-time champion will start the opening race from pole position after coming out on top of the 30-minute shootout ahead of Team BMW's Colin Turkington.

Despite eventually losing out to Neal, Turkington was the first driver to dip below the pole position record from last season after the BMW driver stormed to the top with a 1 minute 15.842s lap.

However, Neal subsequently lowered the benchmark even further with a 1 minute 15.612s lap, putting him over 0.2s clear of Turkington in second.

Apart from Turkington in second, Honda dominated the top-four order with WIX Racing's Brett Smith following up for his best qualifying finish in third, ahead of factory Honda driver Dan Cammish in fourth.

Cammish had threatened to match his team mate Neal's scorching pace at the very front, but saw one of his times deleted for a track limit infringement.

Power Maxed TAG Racing's Senna Proctor has maintained Vauxhall's impressive start to the season after qualifying his Astra in fifth position ahead of championship leader Tom Ingram in sixth.

Ingram was another to have one of his laps deleted from the classification after he, too, was adjudged to have breached the track limits.

Sam Tordoff leads an all Motorbase Performance fourth row in seventh, ahead of Tom Chilton in eighth.

BMW Pirtek Racing's Andrew Jordan was unable to match his West Surrey Racing stablemate Turkington after setting the ninth quickest time, marginally faster than BTC Norlin Racing's Chris Smiley in tenth.

Elsewhere, reigning champion Ashley Sutton faces a tough race day as the leading Subaru runner in 18th position.