Jason Plato secured a dominant pole position at Snetterton circuit, dipping under the track’s qualifying record for the sixth meeting of the 2014 British Touring Car Championship.
The 11-time Snetterton winner set the benchmark very early on to send out a message to his rivals, securing his second pole position of the 2014 season with a time of 1m56.495s around the 2.99-mile Norfolk venue.
The effort was ultimately 0.415s quicker than his nearest rival which turned out to be championship leader, Colin Turkington, interloping the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC team-mates with two late bursts.
Turkington’s West Surrey Racing BMW 125i separated Sam Tordoff from his team-mate, Plato lowering the 2013 lap record of Tordoff with his sterling effort.
“You get the feeling and you know you’re in the zone”, said Plato afterwards. “I wanted a bit more lap time because in qualifying you try a bit harder. That’s job one of four; hopefully we can score big points tomorrow.”
Matt Neal will join Tordoff on row two of the grid, the Honda Yuasa Racing driver towing his team-mate Gordon Shedden around the circuit for much of the session. The Scot could only manage 11th however, currently lying seven points behind Turkington in the championship.
Alain Menu continued his and BMR Racing‘s strong Saturday pace at Snetterton, leading off row three alongside the excelling Tom Ingram who qualified sixth in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
Ingram was just over a second behind Plato, while Aron Smith was next up in another BMR Volkswagen CC.
Adam Morgan qualified eighth in the WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class, the top 10 rounded out by Mat Jackson‘s Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST and Jack Goff‘s BMR Volkswagen CC, Goff having survived a lurid spin through the grass at Coram.
Rob Collard could only manage 19th in a troublesome qualifying session for the WSR BMW driver, while Fabrizio Giovanardi also suffered issues and will therefore start 24th.
Reigning champion Andrew Jordan was not cleared to qualify by BTCC medics meanwhile after his FP1 crash, and will therefore start from the back of the grid tomorrow for round 16 of the championship.
Watch Plato’s pole lap here: