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.
|1||99||M||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||22||52.579||0.000|
|2||116||M||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||18||52.668||0.089|
|3||4||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||24||52.912||0.333|
|4||5||M||Rob COLLARD||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||15||53.204||0.625|
|5||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||23||53.273||0.694|
|6||20||M||James COLE||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||25||53.360||0.781|
|7||18||M||Senna PROCTOR||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||22||53.371||0.792|
|8||17||Dave NEWSHAM||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||23||53.476||0.897|
|9||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||21||53.487||0.908|
|10||33||Adam MORGAN||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||15||53.507||0.928|
|11||66||Josh COOK||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||25||53.637||1.058|
|12||3||Mat JACKSON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||23||53.639||1.060|
|13||10||Ant WHORTON-EALES||AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||22||53.643||1.064|
|14||40||M||Árón TAYLOR-SMITH||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||23||53.736||1.157|
|15||31||Jack GOFF||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||26||53.776||1.197|
|16||24||Jake HILL||TAG Racing||Volkswagen CC||23||53.836||1.257|
|17||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||25||53.843||1.264|
|18||2||M||Tom CHILTON||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||19||53.857||1.278|
|19||28||M||Josh PRICE||A-Plan Academy||Subaru Levorg GT||18||53.859||1.280|
|20||7||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||24||53.949||1.370|
|21||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||20||53.957||1.378|
|22||303||M||Matt SIMPSON||Simpson Racing||Honda Civic Type R||21||54.056||1.477|
|23||11||Rob AUSTIN||Handy Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||16||54.260||1.681|
|24||22||Chris SMILEY||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||22||54.284||1.705|
|25||6||Rory BUTCHER||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||19||54.494||1.915|
|26||61||Will BURNS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||20||54.498||1.919|
|27||16||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||18||54.639||2.060|
|28||12||Mike EPPS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||22||54.730||2.151|
|29||39||Brett SMITH||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||24||54.935||2.356|
|30||48||Ollie JACKSON||AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||16||55.170||2.591|
|31||30||Martin DEPPER||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||23||55.439||2.860|
|32||95||Stewart LINES||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||23||57.039||4.460|