Subaru's Ashley Sutton will start the first British Touring Car Championship race of the season from pole position after ending an incident packed qualifying ahead of Jason Plato and defending champion Colin Turkington at Brands Hatch.

In a session which was hit by three red-flags and constant drizzle, Sutton bolted to the top of the timesheets during the opening third of the shootout and gradually extended his advantage over the rest of the field as qualifying unfolded.

At one point, Sutton's best lap was almost 0.3s quicker than anyone else. However, both Plato and Turkington managed to improve late in the session, which moved the duo up to second and third, within 0.2s of the leading Subaru Levorg.

Second position for Plato marks his best qualifying result since the former two-time champion qualified on the front-row at Croft last season.

Turkington will the initiate the start of his title defence in third position alongside his new Team BMW team mate Tom Oliphant, who qualIfied an impressive fourth for tomorrow's opening race.

Matt Neal leads an all Honda third row in fifth ahead of his Team Dynamics team mate Dan Cammish in sixth. 

2018 BTCC runner-up Tom Ingram qualified in seventh on Team Toyota GB's return to the championship. Ingram posted a time within 0.4s of Sutton's pole time on the Toyota Corolla's maiden qualifying voyage.

Ingram shares the fourth row alongside Team Parker Racing's Stephen Jelley, who impressively out-qualified the latest BMW 330i M Sport of Andrew Jordan to eighth.

Despite missing the final third of the session after bringing out the second of three red flags, Sam Tordoff managed to hold on to tenth aboard his AmD Tuning Honda Civic Type R.