Jason Plato has taken his 33rd career pole position at Brands Hatch this afternoon, taking the top spot by 0.265 seconds.
On top of the times for the majority of the session, the reigning cahmpion starts the first of tomorrow’s races with the upper hand after his two championship rivals, Honda drivers Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, could only manage fifth and sixth respectively.
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Andrew Jordan and James Nash had been comfortably setting lap times in the middle of the top ten. Both drivers improved their times on their final flying laps to go second and third and put even more distance between the battling championship protagonists.
Providing support to Plato’s championship challenge is Alex MacDowall, who was fourth fastest and crucially also ahead of the Honda’s. Shedden and Neal, who will start fifth and sixth, were both half a second off the pace of Plato whilst carrying 36kg of success ballast for jointly leading the championship.
Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson improved his time late in the session to qualify in seventh, having been outside the top ten for the first half of the session.Paul O’Neill will start from eighth for the first race tomorrow.
The two Team Aon cars of Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton improved their performance from practice and qualified in ninth and tenth respectively.
There were two stoppages during the session as the car of Chris James had to be recovered early on when his front-right wheel came off. When the session resumed it wasn’t long before Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall had an off, his Toyota becoming beeched in the gravel at Clark Curve shortly after he posted the time that would give him 14th on the grid for race one.
Ollie Jackson, making his BTCC debut with 888 Racing, qualified a respectable 15th having improved his times towards the end.
The top NGTC driver in the session was Daniel Welch, qualifying just outside the top ten in 11th. Both Rob Austin Racing cars had a difficult session, with Austin himself only managing 22nd. Chris Swanwick, making his debut this weekend in the second Audi, qualified in 27th after a difficult session.