Jason Plato surged to pole position for the second year in succession at Oulton Park, as Triple Eight locked out the front row for tomorrow’s BTCC action.
The former double BTCC champion set a blisteringly quick lap of 1m26.130s on his first flying lap of the half-hour qualifying session to go quicker than anybody had done so all day at the Cheshire circuit, a lap that would not be beaten for the rest of the session.
In fact, Plato only partook in four tours of the circuit throughout the entire session such was his confidence, eventually ending 0.431s ahead of his own MG team-mate, Sam Tordoff.
Reigning champion Gordon Shedden looked initially the man set to join Plato on the front row and set up an entertaining prospect bearing in mind what happened at Thruxton, but his fastest effort which was 0.299s slower than Plato was stripped from him for disrespecting track limits, prompting MG to a 1-2 result once again before the Scot rectified that with his next effort to lie exactly half a second off his rival.
Tordoff then saved his best effort until the final few minutes of the session as he hooked together a 1m26.561s lap to make it a sweep of the front row for Triple Eight, bumping Shedden down to third by just 0.009s.
The second row looked as though it would be filled by Honda drivers, but a sterling last lap from Dave Newsham jumped the Speedworks Toyota Avensis driver up to fourth place as the flag flew to signal the session’s climax, Andrew Jordan the victim as he fell to fifth after having to display some spectacular car control at Cascades on his own final flyer.
Frank Wrathall also improved to sixth in his Dynojet Toyota having intercepted the top six all session, while Colin Turkington finished seventh ahead of championship leader Matt Neal, the Yuasa Honda Racing man carryng maximm success ballast this weekend.
Neal was on a personal best lap towards the final minutes of the session but lost control of the rear of his Civic heading into Knickerbrook and spun through the grass, the three-time 2013 race winner starting eighth tomorrow having set the exact same time as ninth-placed Adam Morgan for Ciceley Racing, 10th-placed man Tom Onslow-Cole also following Neal off the road at the same corner.
Mat and Ollie Jackson missed out on the top 10 ahead of Dan Welch and Jack Goff, while S2000 class honours went the way of Lea Wood in 19th in his Vauxhall Vectra, two places clear of nearest rival Liam Griffin.
Aaron mason ended his first BTCC session 24th, ahead of David Nye and Warren Scott, the latter having bizarrely missed first practice for a contaminated fuel problem, after a spare fuel can had been borrowed which was filled with water rather than petrol.
Full results can be found here: http://bit.ly/10Yjs1H