Power Maxed Racing's Jason Plato has secured his first British Touring Car Championship pole position in over two years after beating BTC Racing's Chris Smiley in qualifying at Silverstone.

The former two-time champion translated his dominant practice form into a 51st career BTCC pole after setting a 57.430s lap, just 0.055s faster than BTC Honda Civic Type-R of Smiley in second.

Plato set his best lap with ten-minutes of the session left to play and his top spot came under threat on a number of occasions with his old rival Matt Neal, at one point, joining him on the front row.

Ultimately, it was Smiley who came closest to spoiling Plato's party but the BTC Racing driver was unable to convert two fastest first sector times into a pole worthy lap.

As the flag fell, it was Plato who topped the times ahead of Smiley with Neal settling for a spot on the second row in third with Team Toyota GB's Tom Ingram joining the former three-time champion in fourth.

Despite towing team mate and championship leader Colin Turkington around for the majority of the 30-minute shootout, Tom Oliphant qualified as the fastest BMW runner to lead all Team BMW third-row ahead of Turkington.

Turkington produced a sensational lap to out-qualify all of his title rivals, despite running the maximum 54 kilos of success ballast. The reigning champion will start race one directly ahead of Honda's Dan Cammish in seventh, while Andrew Jordan will have to fight his way back into contention from 14th.

Ashley Sutton defied his Subaru's straight-line speed deficiencies to qualify in eighth, while Josh Cook and Senna Proctor completed the remainder of the top-ten grid order in ninth and tenth.