Jason Plato gave his MG team another pole position in wet conditions at Knockhill today. He will be joined on the front row by Rob Collard’s BMW, whilst Aron Smith starts in third – his best BTCC qualifying performance to date.
Earlier in the two practice sessions, Plato had looked uncompetitive, but a wet track seemed to suit the MG’s characteristics at the Scottish circuit, and he took pole position by two tenths of a second from Collard.
As ever at Knockhill, the session was incredibly close with under a second covering the top fourteen cars on the grid.
Championship leader Gordon Shedden who was for a time the pace setter will start sixth on the grid for the first race. Team mate Matt Neal, who had been suffering boost problems in practice, will start two places behind in eighth.
Dave Newsham, the winner of the third race last time out at Snetterton qualified in tenth position.
There were several stand-out performances in the difficult conditions. Aron Smith put his Redstone Racing Ford Focus on the second row of the grid, his best qualifying performance since entering the BTCC at the start of the year. Frank Wrathall confirmed the improvement in form his team has found with the Toyota Avensis and will start fifth.
Fellow Toyota man Paul O’Neill once again takes over the driving duties from Tony Hughes in the Speedworks team quickly got to grips with the demands on an NGTC car around Knockhill. He will start an impressive seventh on the grid.
Despite the conditions, the session passed largely without incident. Qualifying was briefly halted after Robb Holland got stuck in the gravel with twelve minutes of the session to go – but marshals quickly recovered his car. The Team Hard Honda Civic did not suffer any obvious damage in the off, and the American driver will start eighteenth out of the nineteen cars entered for this event.