Jason Plato gave the new MG6 its first British Touring Car pole in just its second meeting at Donington Park.
The threat of rain brought the frontrunners out early to try and bank a time. After the rear-wheel-drive WSR BMWs of Tom Onslow-Cole and Rob Collard set the early pace, Plato struck with a blistering 1m10.604s effort that briefly put him nearly a second clear of the field.
"We looked at our weather forecaster and we knew we had to do it quickly," said the double champion.
Works Honda Civic drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, circulating together, then put in a sequence of flyers and edged towards Plato's mark. The best ultimately put Shedden into second, less than a tenth slower than the MG, while Neal was third.
Rain looked set to prevent improvements until Adam Morgan lost his Toyota at Redgate and brought out the red flags. That delay, combined with the rain abating, allowed several cars to improve in the final five minutes of the session.
Andrew Jordan's Eurotech Honda Civic and Collard pushed the Motorbase Ford Focus of Mat Jackson from fourth to sixth in the final moments, the trio being covered by 0.137s.
Dave Newsham could not repeat his free practice form, but a late improvement allowed him to take seventh in the ES Vauxhall.
Rob Austin was hampered by a broken spark plug on his NGTC Audi A4, which caused a misfire, but his early efforts still put him eighth.
Eurotech's Jeff Smith made it four Hondas in the top nine, while Aron Smith completed the top 10 in the second Motorbase Focus.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jason Plato Triple 8 MG 1m10.604s 2. Gordon Shedden Dynamics Honda 1m10.658s + 0.054s 3. Matt Neal Dynamics Honda 1m10.911s + 0.307s 4. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda 1m11.068s + 0.464s 5. Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m11.071s + 0.467s 6. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 1m11.205s + 0.601s 7. Dave Newsham ES Vauxhall 1m11.305s + 0.701s 8. Rob Austin Austin Audi 1m11.322s + 0.718s 9. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda 1m11.443s + 0.839s 10. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford 1m11.568s + 0.964s 11. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 1m11.614s + 1.010s 12. Tom Onslow-Cole WSR BMW 1m11.654s + 1.050s 13. Daniel Welch Welch Proton 1m11.954s + 1.350s 14. Nick Foster WSR BMW 1m11.982s + 1.378s 15. Chris James ES Vauxhall 1m12.067s + 1.463s 16. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 1m12.277s + 1.673s 17. Lea Wood Wood Vauxhall 1m12.409s + 1.805s 18. Tony Gilham Gilham Honda 1m12.594s + 1.990s 19. Ollie Jackson AmD Volkswagen 1m12.891s + 2.287s 20. Adam Morgan Speedworks Toyota 1m13.016s + 2.412s 21. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota 1m17.117s + 6.513s 22. John Thorne Thorney Vauxhall 1m29.668s + 19.064s 23. Andy Neate Triple 8 MG