Matt Neal claims his first British Touring Car pole of 2012

Honda driver Matt Neal scored his first pole position of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship when he set the fastest time during an early charge at Croft on Saturday

Matt Neal claims his first British Touring Car pole of 2012

With clouds threatening, Neal and his rivals took the track during the early minutes to bank lap times and the Honda Civic ace made the most of his first set of tyres to take top slot. He recorded a time of 1m24.900s (90.10mph).

"Given the fact that everyone else has been given more turbo boost because of a rule tweak, the Honda drivers are having to really make the most out of the corners," said Neal. "That's OK for one lap, but it will be a different story in the races."

The reigning champion led two other Hondas. The privately run Eurotech machine of Andrew Jordan was 0.137 seconds away from the polesitter, while Gordon Shedden put his works machine in third place.

Frank Wrathall took a season's best of fourth on the grid after working through refinements to a brand new set-up on the Dynojet Toyota Avensis over the course of the day. He was delighted with the performance.

"Given the amount of work we've done over the free practice sessions, that's a great effort for everyone in the team," said Wrathall.

Double champion Jason Plato was denied a late attempt for pole position when the electrics failed on his MG, which left him stranded on the circuit in the dying moments. He was pushed back into the pitlane but had to rely on his earlier lap time, which was good enough for fifth position.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Matt Neal Honda 1m24.900s 2. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda 1m25.037s + 0.137s 3. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m25.114s + 0.214s 4. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 1m25.156s + 0.256s 5. Jason Plato MG 1m25.221s + 0.321s 6. Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m25.371s + 0.471s 7. Rob Austin Austin Audi 1m25.410s + 0.510s 8. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 1m25.461s + 0.561s 9. Andy Neate MG 1m25.580s + 0.680s 10. Tom Onslow-Cole WSR BMW 1m25.589s + 0.689s 11. Adam Morgan Speedworks Toyota 1m25.814s + 0.914s 12. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda 1m26.060s + 1.160s 13. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford 1m26.079s + 1.179s 14. Daniel Welch Welch Proton 1m26.123s + 1.223s 15. Dave Newsham ES Vauxhall 1m26.133s + 1.233s 16. Nick Foster WSR BMW 1m26.388s + 1.488s 17. Lea Wood Central Vauxhall 1m26.420s + 1.520s 18. Paul O'Neill Speedworks Toyota 1m26.564s + 1.664s 19. Tony Gilham Gilham Honda 1m26.845s + 1.945s 20. Ollie Jackson AmD Volkswagen 1m26.965s + 2.065s 21. Will Bratt Austin Audi 1m27.078s + 2.178s 22. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 1m27.440s + 2.540s 23. Chris James ES Vauxhall 1m28.757s + 3.857s 
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Jason Plato fastest in second BTCC practice at Croft

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