Jason Plato scored his first British Touring Car Championship pole position in two years at Silverstone, as Colin Turkington finished eight places higher than title rival Andrew Jordan.
A 57.430-second lap set with seven minutes of the session remaining moved Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 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.
Honda Civic Type R driver Chris Smiley ran 0.055s shy for second in a front-wheel-drive lockout of the top four, while 28 cars lapped 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 initally posted.
The BMWs of Tom Oliphant, Turkington, 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 payload of success ballast on board.
Neal's team-mate 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 team-mate 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.
Given eight places separate Turkington and Jordan ahead of race one, when asked if his qualifying lap was the most important of his season, Turkington said: "no doubt, it feels like a massive lap."
|1||Jason Plato||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||57.430s|
|2||Chris Smiley||BTC Racing||Honda||0.055s|
|3||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.059s|
|4||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota||0.092s|
|7||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.227s|
|8||Ash Sutton||BMR Racing||Subaru||0.247s|
|9||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda||0.271s|
|10||Senna Proctor||BMR Racing||Subaru||0.275s|
|11||Tom Chilton||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.275s|
|12||Rory Butcher||AmD Tuning||Honda||0.283s|
|13||Mike Bushell||AmD Tuning||Honda||0.318s|
|15||Jack Goff||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.347s|
|16||Michael Caine||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.382s|
|17||Rob Collard||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||0.406s|
|18||Ollie Jackson||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.407s|
|19||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti||0.419s|
|20||Bobby Thompson||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.476s|
|21||Matt Simpson||Simpson Racing||Honda||0.529s|
|22||Jake Hill||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||0.541s|
|23||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||0.578s|
|24||Michael Crees||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.597s|
|25||Daniel Rowbottom||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||0.712s|
|26||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||0.762s|
|27||Carl Boardley||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.843s|
|28||Mark Blundell||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||0.933s|
|29||Rob Smith||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||1.135s|
|30||Sam Osborne||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||1.529s|