Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher secured a second consecutive pole position after setting the fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s first British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park.

The Ford Focus driver looked a likely candidate for pole all session long after emerging from the first set of runs with the benchmark time.

Although a number of drivers dipped below Butcher’s time, during what proved to be a frenetic climax to the 30-minute shootout, the Motorbase driver once again bolted to the top of the timesheets after posting a 1’25.734s effort.

That was good enough to deny BTC Racing’s Josh Cook by a mere 0.089s in second, as just 0.252s covered the top-two rows.

Defending four-time champion and current points leader Colin Turkington will start Sunday’s opening race from third after producing another sensational effort on maximum success ballast.

At one point Turkington led the timesheets but was unable to retain his position ahead of Butcher.

Honda’s Matt Neal joins Turkington on the second row in fourth. Race two will mark the three-time champion’s 700th BTCC race.

Dan Cammish set the fifth fastest time in qualifying aboard the sister factory Honda Civic Type-R, with Jake Hill lining up alongside in sixth for the MB Motorsport squad.

Tom Chilton completed the last link of what proved to be a four-strong Honda quartet from fourth to seventh.

Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant had to settle for eighth, despite, at one point, lighting the timing screens up to briefly go top of the pile.

Oliphant’s time was subsequently deleted due to exceeding track limits, which saw the BTCC’s newest race winner plummeting back down to eighth.

Adam Morgan and Chris Smiley make up the remainder of the top-ten grid order in ninth and tenth.

Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton narrowly missed out on a top-ten slot in 11th, while Mike Bushell, representing Power Maxed Racing on the Vauxhall squad’s BTCC return, will start race one from 12th.