Mat Jackson made it three pole positions on the bounce in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship thanks to a lap record-breaking effort in the final qualifying session of the season at Brands Hatch GP.
The Motorbase Performance driver backed up his Rockingham and Silverstone performances by slashing the previous best BTCC lap at the Kent circuit, beating Aron Smith‘s Volkswagen CC by 0.126s.
Jackson’s 1m30.685s lap was one of two laps that saw him dip under the 1m31s barrier, the lap also the quickest in a touring car around the full Brands Hatch GP circuit.
The Ford Focus ST driver was challenged by former triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx in a mixed 30-minute qualifying session, before Team BMR‘s Jason Plato then moved up the order to second spot from 12th place to confirm his title intentions.
Colin Turkington then mimicked his team-mate’s performance by moving up to second place from 12th, but both soon found themselves part of a huge scrap for the second front row slot.
Irishman Smith beat both his BMR team-mates to move up to that spot, which he would hold until the flag ahead of the late-improving Mercedes of Adam Morgan.
Despite carrying 75kgs of success ballast, Gordon Shedden ended highest of the championship contenders with a fine lap to net fourth spot, entering 23 points ahead heading into Sunday’s three races as he pushed Turkington and Plato down to row three.
Tom Ingram again shone with seventh place for Speedworks Motorsport, beating Matt Neal‘s Honda Civic Type-R while Priaulx slipped to ninth place ahead of Power Maxed Racing‘s Josh Cook, who rounded at the top 10.
Triple Eight Racing failed to make the top 10 – Jack Goff 11th while Andrew Jordan could only muster 13th. Sam Tordoff was 14th for West Surrey Racing, his team-mate Rob Collard down in 18th.