Sam Tordoff scored AmD Tuning's first pole position in the British Touring Car Championship, pulling out a narrow 0.030sec advantage with just three seconds of Thruxton qualifying remaining.
He had only been 15th in the dry second free practice session after focusing on race set-up, but in the dying moments of qualifying he posted a time of 1:15.511 to set a new lap record and usurp free practice pacesetter Dan Cammish.
In the first dry qualifying run of the season, and on the new hard compound tyres, rear-wheel-drive runners set the early pace as Andrew Jordan went fastest.
Matt Neal had ended last month's Thruxton test in second but was an early casualty as he suffered a spin on his first flying lap through the high-speed Church corner.
But then front-wheel-drive runners Jake Hill and Tom Ingram came to the fore, going fastest as Jordan and team-mate Colin Turkington were the first to lose their times to track limits abuse.
As Matt Simpson was another spinner at Church, practice pacesetter Cammish topped the times before Rory Butcher's 1m15.724s put his older shape Honda Civic Type R ahead.
Butcher's effort in the FK2 model remained unmatched for sometime as the concurrent sequence of flying laps ended.
But on fresh rubber, Turkington found 0.07s in BMW 330i M Sport to head the way. Butcher did respond immediately but was another casualty of track limits offences and so lost his time.
After missing out races two and three at Donington Park having been hospitalised, Jordan was in fine form and pulled out 0.06s on his WSR team-mate to sit first heading in to the closing minutes of the session.
But proceedings were halted by a lengthy red flag when ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell and Tom Chilton came to blows at the chicane, which left Chilton's Ford Focus wedged into the tyre wall and the barriers needing repairs.
Jordan remained on provisional pole after a final five-minute shootout got underway, and it looked like he would remain unchallenged until Cammish returned to the top with two minutes to go.
But crossing the line with just three seconds on the clock, pre-season fastest Tordoff moved top to secure his teams first ever series pole.
Behind Cammish and Jordan, Turkington ended the day fourth from Butcher and Jason Plato's Vauxhall Astra.
Ashley Sutton was seventh ahead of Neal, Rob Collard and third WSR driver Tom Oliphant.
|1||Sam Tordoff||AmD Tuning||Honda||1m15.511s|
|2||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.030s|
|5||Rory Butcher||AmD Tuning||Honda||0.213s|
|6||Jason Plato||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||0.432s|
|7||Ash Sutton||BMR Racing||Subaru||0.475s|
|8||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.478s|
|9||Rob Collard||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||0.528s|
|11||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda||0.587s|
|12||Chris Smiley||BTC Racing||Honda||0.670s|
|13||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||0.688s|
|14||Jake Hill||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||0.695s|
|15||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota||0.775s|
|16||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes||0.917s|
|17||Matt Simpson||Simpson Racing||Honda||0.945s|
|18||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||0.974s|
|19||Ollie Jackson||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.982s|
|20||Senna Proctor||BMR Racing||Subaru||0.992s|
|21||Daniel Rowbottom||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||1.268s|
|22||Tom Chilton||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.489s|
|23||Jack Goff||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1.657s|
|24||Nicolas Hamilton||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.799s|
|25||Bobby Thompson||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1.868s|
|26||Rob Smith||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||2.286s|
|27||Michael Crees||Team Hard||Volkswagen||3.239s|
|28||Sam Osborne||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||3.336s|
|29||Carl Boardley||Team Hard||Volkswagen||3.765s|
|30||Mark Blundell||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||7.045s|