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Rockingham BTCC: Jason Plato leads all-MG front row

Plato leads all-MG front rowDouble 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
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