MacDowall earns historic BTCC pole

Alex MacDowall became the youngest polesitter in British Touring Car Championship history as he went quickest in a wet qualifying session at Snetterton

MacDowall earns historic BTCC pole

In taking pole, the teenager also headed a Chevrolet one-two, making it the first time a Cruze has appeared on the front row in the BTCC.

With rain beginning to fall as the session began, tyre choice looked like it would determine the grid order. However, with nobody able to get a decent amount of heat into their tyres early on, and the rain getting heavier as the session progressed, most of the quick times came during the middle of the session when everyone was on full wets.

Jason Plato, who topped dry practice, seemed likely to claim pole for himself with a lap of 1m19.426s at the halfway point of the session. But MacDowall surprised his more senior team-mate by turning in a 1m19.332s less than a minute later. His time, which was unbeaten, gave him pole by 0.094 seconds and made him the youngest polesitter in championship history at 19 years, 197 days old.

Behind them Tom Chilton put his Arena Ford third on the grid with Mat Jackson (Motorbase BMW) and Gordon Shedden next up. The Honda driver spun on his final lap exiting the Esses, but was able to resume the circuit.

Andrew Jordan (Eurotech Vauxhall) qualified sixth, just ahead of championship leader Matt Neal, who was carrying 45kg of success ballast in his Honda.

Paul O'Neill (Tech-Speed Honda), James Nash (Triple 8 Vauxhall) and Tom Boardman (Special Tuning UK SEAT) completed the top 10 - the latter taking the best BTCC qualifying spot of his career.

Tom Onslow-Cole had the pace to qualify in the top six, but his Arena Ford failed two separate ride-height tests, twice having his times deleted from the session. With the final failure coming with only 40 seconds remaining, he did not have enough time to set a qualifying mark and will start last on the grid for Sunday's opening race.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet 1m19.332s 2. Jason Plato Chevrolet 1m19.426s + 0.094s 3. Tom Chilton Ford  1m19.675s + 0.343s 4. Mat Jackson BMW 1m20.094s + 0.762s 5. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m20.206s + 0.874s 6. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 1m20.487s + 1.155s 7. Matt Neal Honda 1m20.613s + 1.281s 8. Paul O'Neill Honda 1m20.688s + 1.356s 9. James Nash Vauxhall 1m20.695s + 1.363s 10. Tom Boardman SEAT 1m20.752s + 1.420s 11. Steven Kane BMW 1m20.827s + 1.495s 12. Rob Collard BMW 1m21.303s + 1.971s 13. Lea Wood Honda 1m21.350s + 2.018s 14. David Pinkney Vauxhall 1m22.278s + 2.946s 15. Andy Neate BMW 1m22.357s + 3.025s 16. John George Honda 1m22.358s + 3.026s 17. Shaun Hollamby Volkswagen 1m22.963s + 3.631s 18. Martin Depper BMW 1m23.598s + 4.266s 19. Arthur Forster BMW 1m23.656s + 4.324s 20. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 1m40.092s + 20.760s 21. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford 
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