Andrew Jordan repeated his feat of 2013 by asserting his number one status with pole position for the opening British Touring Car Championship event of the season at Brands Hatch.
The Eurotech Honda Civic driver left it late to put in the pole position effort, beating Jason Plato to the honours in a tense first qualifying session that left onlookers guessing until the flag.
Plato soon spoiled the party for Honda after 10 minutes however to return to his practice form, setting a pole time quicker than Jordan managed in 2013 with a 48.300s effort.
The top four of Plato, Neal, Shedden and Jordan were separated by just the mere 0.090s, Plato hanging on as the quartet ventured out onto the circuit in the second half of the session.
Plato lowered the pole time even further with 10 minutes remaining, and looked set to back up his practice pace as he continued to trim his time.
However, Jordan then put together two fine laps to assert his position as the new champion by first improving to second, then usurping Plato for pole position on a sterling 48.228s effort.
The Pirtek Racing man will be joined by Plato on the front row after beating the MG man by just 0.012s, Colin Turkington jumping up to third for WSR in the dying stages while Neal finished as the top Civic Tourer for Honda Yuasa Racing ahead of Shedden in fifth..
A sublime performance by Tom Ingram warranted sixth place for the Speedworks BTCC rookie, beating the BMR Racing Volkswagen CC duo of Aron Smith and Alain Menu, who ended his return qualifying session a solid eighth ahead of Mat Jackson (Motorbase) and Rob Collard (WSR).
Sam Tordoff could only manage 12th place in the sister MG KX Clubcard Fuel Saver BTCC Team car to Plato, while Adam Morgan returned Mercedes to the championship with 14th on the grid.
Fabrizio Giovanardi ended his return to a BTCC qualifying session only 18th, yet still just the 0.656s adrift of Jordan’s pole time.
Robb Holland suffered a spin at Paddock Hill Bend on his way to a 28th place starting spot, while differential issues kept Chris Stockton out of the session.