Last to the line for pole man Jason Plato in frantic Knockhill...

Last to the line for pole man Jason Plato in frantic Knockhill qualifying

Jason Plato
Photo: Network Images

Subaru’s Jason Plato scored his first pole position of the season in a frantic British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Knockhill, as the times tumbled at the end of the session on a drying circuit.

The session began on a wet track following a rain shower just before the start, with the initial times coming in at around 56 to 57 seconds.

However, the session really came alive after the second of two red-flag stoppages, needed in order to retrieve knocked over advertising hoardings, with around five minutes to go.

Just before the second stoppage a number of drivers had begun to experiment with slick tyres, but the pause allowed the entire field to try out the optimum rubber in a last-to-the-flag showdown.

The top time changed no less than ten times in the final four minutes of the session, with Plato claiming his 50th career pole at the very end, being one of the last to cross the finish line.

Plato will be joined on the front row of the grid by championship challenging team-mate Ash Sutton, who was consistently at or near the top of the times in the session, even in wet conditions.

BMW duo Colin Turkington and Rob Collard were third and fourth respectively, despite the latter having had an issue with his car early in the session when smoke started billowing out of the engine bay.

Collard, who had briefly been fastest before being pipped in the final seconds, secured his best qualifying effort since Croft in 2015.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram was the leading front-wheel drive racer in fifth, ahead of a career-best qualifying effort from Subaru’s James Cole in sixth.

Also enjoying his best-ever qualifying result was Power Maxed Racing’s Senna Proctor in seventh, who cracked the top ten for the first time in his career.

BTC Racing’s Dave Newsham was eighth, despite saving a huge slide in the session, whilst championship leader Gordon Shedden and Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan completed the top ten.

The rapidly changing nature of the final seconds left some big names down at the back end of the field – notably Honda’s Matt Neal could only manage 21st, whilst Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin was 23rd having had his lap times deleted earlier in the session for failing the ride height check.

The second Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall of Tom Chilton had been fastest with two minutes to go, but he ended up down in 18th, highlighting the rapidly-changing nature of the session.

Laser Tools Racing’s local racer Aiden Moffat was just 27th quickest despite showing strong pace in practice earlier in the day.

Q1 results

199MJason PLATOAdrian Flux Subaru RacingSubaru Levorg GT2252.5790.000
2116MAshley SUTTONAdrian Flux Subaru RacingSubaru Levorg GT1852.6680.089
34MColin TURKINGTONTeam BMWBMW 125i M Sport2452.9120.333
45MRob COLLARDTeam BMWBMW 125i M Sport1553.2040.625
580Tom INGRAMSpeedworks MotorsportToyota Avensis2353.2730.694
620MJames COLEAdrian Flux Subaru RacingSubaru Levorg GT2553.3600.781
718MSenna PROCTORPower Maxed RacingVauxhall Astra2253.3710.792
817Dave NEWSHAMBTC Norlin RacingChevrolet Cruze2353.4760.897
952MGordon SHEDDENHalfords Yuasa RacingHonda Civic Type R2153.4870.908
1033Adam MORGANCiceley MotorsportMercedes-Benz A-Class1553.5070.928
1166Josh COOKMG Racing RCIB InsuranceMG6GT2553.6371.058
123Mat JACKSONTeam Shredded Wheat Racing with DuoFord Focus2353.6391.060
1310Ant with Cobra ExhaustsAudi S32253.6431.064
1440MÁrón TAYLOR-SMITHMG Racing RCIB InsuranceMG6GT2353.7361.157
1531Jack GOFFEurotech RacingHonda Civic Type R2653.7761.197
1624Jake HILLTAG RacingVolkswagen CC2353.8361.257
1777MAndrew JORDANBMW Pirtek RacingBMW 125i M Sport2553.8431.264
182MTom CHILTONPower Maxed RacingVauxhall Astra1953.8571.278
1928MJosh PRICEA-Plan AcademySubaru Levorg GT1853.8591.280
207Stephen JELLEYTeam Parker with Maximum MotorsportFord Focus2453.9491.370
2125MMatt NEALHalfords Yuasa RacingHonda Civic Type R2053.9571.378
22303MMatt SIMPSONSimpson RacingHonda Civic Type R2154.0561.477
2311Rob AUSTINHandy MotorsportToyota Avensis1654.2601.681
2422Chris SMILEYBTC Norlin RacingChevrolet Cruze2254.2841.705
256Rory BUTCHERTeam Shredded Wheat Racing with DuoFord Focus1954.4941.915
2661Will BURNSAutoaid / RCIB Insurance RacingVolkswagen CC2054.4981.919
2716Aiden MOFFATLaser Tools RacingMercedes-Benz A-Class1854.6392.060
2812Mike EPPSAutoaid / RCIB Insurance RacingVolkswagen CC2254.7302.151
2939Brett SMITHEurotech RacingHonda Civic Type R2454.9352.356
3048Ollie with Cobra ExhaustsAudi S31655.1702.591
3130Martin DEPPERTeam Shredded Wheat Racing with DuoFord Focus2355.4392.860
3295Stewart LINESTeam Parker with Maximum MotorsportFord Focus2357.0394.460