Silverstone BTCC: Plato scores first pole in two years
Jason Plato scored his first BTCC pole position in two years at Silverstone, as Colin Turkington qualified eight places higher than chief title rival Andrew Jordan.
A 57.430-second lap set with seven minutes of the session remaining moved Power Maxed Racing driver Plato into first place and from there he was never matched.
It marks the two-time series champion's first pole since Knockhill in 2017 and his 51st in the series.
BTC Racing Honda driver Chris Smiley ran 0.055s shy for second in a front-wheel-drive lockout of the top four, with 28 cars lapping within a second of Plato.
Dan Cammish was the first driver to drop under the 58s barrier, with eight minutes of the session elapsing before representative lap times were initially posted.
The BMWs of Tom Oliphant and Turkington and Stephen Jelley and Jordan ran in procession to gain a tow, allowing a ballast-free Oliphant to top the times.
But with 10 minutes to go Plato dropped to 57.589s for provisional pole, 0.050s ahead of an improving Tom Ingram.
The Toyota Corolla of Ingram was pinged for track limits but set another lap good enough for second on his next tour, with Plato also bettering his previous lap to post his unmatched 57.430s.
Matt Neal, running for large parts of the session without a tow, was an impressive third ahead of Ingram.
Speedworks driver Ingram was fortunate to not cause a late red flag when he lost the rear of his car on the exit of Copse, just missing the barriers on the inside of the track.
Oliphant headed Turkington – the points leaders ending the session in sixth and with the maximum 54kg of success ballast on board.
Neal's works Honda teammate Cammish was seventh ahead of Ash Sutton, Josh Cook and Senna Proctor.
Tom Chilton was a quiet 11th, with the long Wellington Straight not demonstrating the Ford Focus RS's usual straight line speed.
Rory Butcher, fifth in the points, was 12th ahead of stand-in teammate Mike Bushell.
Jordan, whose Knockhill victory last time out means he sits just 10 points shy of Turkington, was only 14th ahead of Jack Goff and last-minute Motorbase stand-in Michael Caine.
Caine replaces Hamilton at Motorbase
Silverstone BTCC: Ingram wins from Plato, Turkington spins