Jason Plato edges out Chris Smiley and Matt Neal to secure Silverstone...

Jason Plato edges out Chris Smiley and Matt Neal to secure Silverstone pole

Photo: PSP Images

Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato converted his strong practice pace into pole position for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Silverstone, edging out the two FK8 Honda Civics of Chris Smiley and Matt Neal.

The double champion has topped every session in his Vauxhall Astra in what has been the perfect Saturday, setting a time of 57.430s to secure pole position.

Just half a tenth shy of Plato’s benchmark was BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley, who enjoyed a return to form just four thousandths ahead of felloe FK8 Honda Civic runner Matt Neal.

Team Toyota GB’s Tom Ingram held on to his Toyota Corolla to secure fourth position for race one, despite a couple of hairy moments Copse corner, with the latter slide resulting in a trip across the grass and light contact with the barrier.

Tom Oliphant had been sat on provisional pole in the early half of the session after a strong showing in the BMW 3 Series, but eventually dropped to fifth ahead of team-mate and championship leader Colin Turkington.

Fellow title contender Dan Cammish lines up just behind the triple champion in seventh position, while Ash Sutton managed to place eighth in an impressive performance given the lack of top-end speed of his Subaru Levorg.

Sutton will start just ahead of former team-mate Josh Cook, while his current team-mate Senna Proctor rounds out the top ten.

Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton was 11th, with Knockhill polesitter and racewinner Rory Butcher lining up 12th ahead of AmD Tuning team-mate Mike Bushell, who will see out the remainder of the 2019 campaign with the team.

2013 champion Andrew Jordan, who sits second in the standings, could only manage 14th after the BMW trio attempted to tow each other around the 1.64-mile National layout, but Jordan could not capitalise.

Team HARD’s Jack Goff impressed in 15th position in his Volkswagen CC, while Michael Caine enjoyed a successful first qualifying session in the Motorbase Ford Focus RS to place 16th despite carrying 45kg of ballast.

Caine, who replaces Nic Hamilton for the rest of the season, last drove in the BTCC for Team HARD in a Volkswagen last season.

The opening British Touring Car Championship race at Silverstone is scheduled to get underway tomorrow [September 29] at 12:00 BST.

Qualifying result

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 11 M Jason PLATO Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 22 57.430 0.000
2 22 I Chris SMILEY BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 22 57.485 0.055
3 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 22 57.489 0.059
4 80 M Tom INGRAM Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 20 57.522 0.092
5 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 24 57.560 0.130
6 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 24 57.568 0.138
7 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 21 57.657 0.227
8 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 26 57.677 0.247
9 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 21 57.701 0.271
10 18 M Senna PROCTOR Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 24 57.705 0.275
11 3 I Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 22 57.705 0.275
12 6 I Rory BUTCHER Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 18 57.713 0.283
13 21 I Mike BUSHELL Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 20 57.748 0.318
14 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 330i M Sport 24 57.765 0.335
15 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 23 57.777 0.347
16 44 I Michael CAINE Motorbase Performance Ford Focus RS 23 57.812 0.382
17 9 M Rob COLLARD Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 23 57.836 0.406
18 48 I Ollie JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 23 57.837 0.407
19 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 23 57.849 0.419
20 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 21 57.906 0.476
21 303 I Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 57.959 0.529
22 24 I Jake HILL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 21 57.971 0.541
23 33 I Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 19 58.008 0.578
24 777 I Michael CREES GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 21 58.027 0.597
25 32 I Daniel ROWBOTTOM Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 22 58.142 0.712
26 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 18 58.192 0.762
27 41 I Carl BOARDLEY RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 20 58.273 0.843
28 8 I Mark BLUNDELL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 22 58.363 0.933
29 37 I Rob SMITH Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 23 58.565 1.135
30 4 I Sam OSBORNE Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 21 58.959 1.529