Plato Leads MG Front Row Lock-out At Rockingham

by Dan Mason

MG KX Momentum Racing secured their third front row lock-out of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship season, Jason Plato securing pole position for the third year in a row at Rockingham.

The double champion left his effort until the final five minutes of the half-hour session, a lap record-breaking 1m22.350s effort enough to put himself out of reach for only his second pole position of the year.

The session looked to have gone the way of his KX-backed team-mate Sam Tordoff in the second half of qualifying, the former Porsche Carrera Cup GB racer having snatched the advantage away from a flying Rob Austin.

The Knockhill pole sitter looked set to repeat to sensation once again with a strong lap that stood for much of the session, but he was bumped to row two by the MG6 duo in the final stages after a red flag to remove the Dynojet Toyota Avensis of Frank Wrathall from the gravel trap at Chapman Curve.

Plato’s lap was enough to lower his own lap record from the circuit last season, repeating Oulton Park by leading an MG 1-2.

Austin separated MG from their four rapid Honda Civic rivals, Andrew Jordan the biggest winner in the picture of the championship as he qualified fourth.

Gordon Shedden – last year’s Rockingham star – was next up in fifth place, while Jeff Smith made it two Pirtek Racing Hondas in the top six ahead of the championship leader Matt Neal.

Neal leads the series by six points from Jordan, but will carry the maximum 45kg of success ballast for doing so again in tomorrow’s first race.

Dave Newsham could not repeat the result of free practice as he finished eighth in the lead Toyota, ahead of Colin Turkington who could only manage ninth ahead of Will Bratt on a day that eBay Motors struggled with their BMWs somewhat, unlike WIX Racing who saw both their Audis in the top 10.

On a difficult qualifying for Airwaves RacingMat Jackson could only muster 12th place, while Tom Onslow-Cole‘s debut for the Kent squad netted just 18th ahead of a struggling Wrathall and the returning Howard Fuller for Team HARD.

Lea Wood was the top qualifier in the Jack Sears Trophy, beating Liam Griffin who lies just four wins behind him in the class.

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