Rockingham BTCC: Jason Plato leads all-MG front row
|By Ben Anderson||Saturday, September 14th 2013, 15:35 GMT|
Double British Touring Car champion Jason Plato led an MG one-two in qualifying at Rockingham.
Plato recovered from set-up issues in free practice to steal top spot from team-mate Sam Tordoff by two tenths of a second.
Tordoff predicted he would be in the thick of the fight for pole, and he led the way for much of the session before Plato deposed him in the closing minutes.
Plato's Triple Eight-run car was lying fourth quickest, two tenths adrift of his team-mate, when the session was stopped to retrieve Frank Wrathall's stranded Dynojet Toyota from Chapman Curve with nine minutes left.
Plato dug deep on the resumption and lapped in a 1m22.350s best to grab his second pole position of the season.
Knockhill qualifying star Rob Austin had his Audi on provisional pole in the early stages, but he slipped to third as the MGs found their feet.
Title contender Andrew Jordan qualified best of the Hondas in fourth, less than a tenth adrift of Austin.
Reigning champion Gordon Shedden was on the back foot after a fuel pick-up problem hampered his running in the second free practice session. He will start Sunday's first race fifth, the first time he has qualified off the first two rows this season.
Jordan's Eurotech team-mate Jeff Smith became the meat in a works Honda sandwich by posting the sixth fastest time, less than four hundredths of a second clear of Matt Neal.
Practice pacesetter Dave Newsham qualified his Speedworks Toyota Avensis in seventh, just 0.003s clear of Colin Turkington's WSR BMW.
Ex-Formula 2 racer Will Bratt made the top 10 for the first time by being the last man to lap below 1m23s in the session, fractions ahead of Rob Collard (WSR BMW) and Mat Jackson in the best of the Motorbase Ford Focuses.
New team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole qualified 18th in his Focus, his worst qualifying result of the season.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Jason Plato MG 1m22.350s 2. Sam Tordoff MG 1m22.557s +0.207s 3. Rob Austin Austin Audi 1m22.588s +0.238s 4. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda 1m22.673s +0.323s 5. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m22.721s +0.371s 6. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda 1m22.810s +0.460s 7. Matt Neal Honda 1m22.847s +0.497s 8. Dave Newsham Speedworks Toyota 1m22.934s +0.584s 9. Colin Turkington WSR BMW 1m22.937s +0.587s 10. Will Bratt Austin Audi 1m22.992s +0.642s 11. Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m23.030s +0.680s 12. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 1m23.051s +0.701s 13. Jack Goff Hard Vauxhall 1m23.090s +0.740s 14. Nick Foster WSR BMW 1m23.211s +0.861s 15. Daniel Welch Welch Proton 1m23.365s +1.015s 16. Adam Morgan Ciceley Toyota 1m23.389s +1.039s 17. Tom Onslow-Cole Motorbase Ford 1m23.509s +1.159s 18. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 1m23.515s +1.165s 19. Howard Fuller Hard Volkswagen 1m23.714s +1.364s 20. Warren Scott BMR Volkswagen 1m23.959s +1.609s 21. Andy Neate IP Tech Chevrolet 1m24.068s +1.718s 22. Ollie Jackson Speedworks Toyota 1m24.484s +2.134s 23. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford 1m23.411s +1.061s * 24. Lea Wood Wood Vauxhall 1m24.718s +2.368s ** 25. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 1m25.305s +2.955s ** 26. Andy Wilmot Hard Volkswagen 1m25.911s +3.561s 27. David Nye Welch Ford 1m26.434s +4.084s **
* Carries six-place grid penalty for race one, carried over from Knockhill.
** S2000 cars