Jason Plato sent out a stern message to his British Touring Car Championship rivals in Saturday qualifying at Donington, lowering the lap record to claim his first pole position of the season.
The MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC Team duo of Plato and Sam Tordoff immediately showed intent once they swapped their tyres and began initial hot laps, dipping quickly under the lap record.
Tordoff initially took the advantage by dipping under the 1m10s barrier, only for the Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Tourer of last year’s pole-sitter, Gordon Shedden, to snatch it away instantly.
Tordoff returned the favour, but his team-mate Plate raised the bar significantly with a sensational lap of 1m09.460s which would remain untouchable for the rest of the 30-minute session as the double champion claimed his first pole of the season.
Shedden came closest to the pole man for Honda to deny a front row lock-out for their manufacturer rivals, MG, just 0.131s away from Plato with Tordoff ending his session in third spot.
Colin Turkington worked his way up the order as the WSR man steadily improved his times on the way to an eventual fourth place, beating Aron Smith and Alain Menu who make up an all-BMR Racing Volkswagen third row.
Andrew Jordan hauled his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic to seventh on the grid despite carrying 45kg of ballast, making it five former champions within the top seven.
Jack Goff again impressed on his way to eighth place for the BMR squad in his Vauxhall Insignia, beating the works Honda of Matt Neal who could only manage ninth place, Marc Hynes rounding out the top 10 of which he has consistently been within all day.
Fabrizio Giovanardi missed out on the top 10 in 11th spot, while Adam Morgan was unfortunate as he was running fourth before having his times removed for failing a ride height check with 10 minutes to go, eventually only able to recover to 17th.
Warren Scott suffered an off at the bottom of Old Hairpin late in the session, while Giovanardi also had to escape from the gravel at Redgate following a small spin.