Plato on pole
Jason Plato led the way in qualifying for the first of Sunday's British Touring Car Championship races at Donington Park.
Plato claimed the 36th pole of his BTCC career after setting the benchmark early on at the wheel of his Momentum Racing MG6 and then seeing the challenge of his rivals falter as rain began to fall.
The two-time champion went quickest despite running with maximum success ballast, added as a result his win, third place and fourth place at the opening round at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago.
"This is one of the most satisfying of all," the championship leader said of his pole position.
"We knew the rain was coming so popped in a fast lap early on, but what a result for the team and this car. It is still very new to racing but we got a win out of it on its debut at Brands Hatch and it just gets better and better."
Honda's Gordon Shedden will start alongside Plato in second after setting a time just 0.054 seconds slower, while the Scot's team-mate Matt Neal, the reigning champion, took third.
"I had a few hairy moments out there - that is the maximum I could achieve with the car," said Shedden, who already trails Plato by 41 points in the standings after a miserable opening round.
"But I'm on the front row so can't complain too much given the problems I had at Brands Hatch."
Neal, meanwhile, expects Plato to be in a league of his own in the first race tomorrow.
"Even though my car has slightly less ballast than Jason's the gap to him is still three tenths of a second," he said. "We have no more left in the tank.
"We need Jason to make a mistake tomorrow and he doesn't make many of those."
Andrew Jordan took fourth for Pirtek Racing Civic, while Rob Collard (Bay Motors BMW) was fifth and Mat Jackson (Redstone Racing Ford) sixth.
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