Jason Plato took a dominant pole position for the British Touring Car Championship round at Snetterton, as champion Andrew Jordan missed the session due to his morning crash.
Triple Eight MG driver Plato, who admitted he needs a big score at Snetterton to keep his title challenge alive, set a time of 1m56.495s early in the session.
Plato failed to improve with his later run, but he remained well clear of the rest, with championship leader Colin Turkington being the only other driver under 1m57s with a late effort in his WSR BMW.
The fight behind was tighter; a little over 0.5 seconds covered third to 10th. The second MG6 of Sam Tordoff led the chasing pack.
Matt Neal was the leading Honda contender in fourth, while Alain Menu was another late improver and ended up fifth in his BMR Volkswagen Passat.
Tom Ingram continued his fine rookie campaign with sixth in his Speedworks Toyota Avensis, just ahead of the second BMR Passat of Oulton Park race winner Aron Smith.
Adam Morgan's Ciceley Mercedes was next, while Mat Jackson led the Motorbase Ford Focus charge in ninth.
Jack Goff made it three VWs in the top 10, on his first race weekend after switching from the Vauxhall Insignia.
Despite a tow from Honda team-mate Neal, title contender Gordon Shedden could only manage 11th in his Civic Tourer, but he fared better than Eurotech Honda driver Jordan.
The reigning champion is expecting to start from the back of the grid in race one on Sunday after his free practice crash. Jordan was not given clearance from the BTCC's medical team to take part in qualifying.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Jason Plato MG 1m56.495s
2. Colin Turkington WSR BMW 1m56.910s +0.415s
3. Sam Tordoff MG 1m57.254s +0.759s
4. Matt Neal Honda 1m57.281s +0.786s
5. Alain Menu BMR VW 1m57.291s +0.796s
6. Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 1m57.576s +1.081s
7. Aron Smith BMR VW 1m57.708s +1.213s
8. Adam Morgan Ciceley Mercedes 1m57.746s +1.251s
9. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 1m57.746s +1.251s
10. Jack Goff BMR VW 1m57.757s +1.262s
11. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m58.030s +1.535s
12. Marc Hynes MG 1m58.054s +1.559s
13. Rob Austin RAR Audi 1m58.241s +1.746s
14. Dave Newsham AmD Ford 1m58.291s +1.796s
15. Glynn Geddie UA Toyota 1m58.356s +1.861s
16. Nick Foster WSR BMW 1m58.465s +1.970s
17. Warren Scott BMR VW 1m58.504s +2.009s
18. Lea Wood Houseman Toyota 1m58.513s +2.018s
19. Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m58.661s +2.166s
20. Aiden Moffat Moffat Chevrolet 1m58.799s +2.304s
21. Jack Clarke Motorbase Ford 1m58.822s +2.327s
22. Martin Depper Eurotech Honda 1m58.956s +2.461s
23. Robb Holland Rotek Audi 1m59.068s +2.573s
24. Fabrizio Giovanardi Motorbase Ford 1m59.245s +2.750s
25. James Cole UA Toyota 1m59.318s +2.823s
26. Hunter Abbott RAR Audi 1m59.350s +2.855s
27. Dan Welch Welch Proton 2m01.057s +4.562s
28. Simon Belcher Handy Toyota 2m01.153s +4.658s
29. Chris Stockton BTC Chevrolet 2m01.334s +4.839s
30. Ollie Jackson Welch Proton 2m02.638s +6.143s