Plato on Pole at Oulton Park

Former British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato outlined Seat's ever-improving form as he grabbed pole position for the first of tomorrow's rounds of the series at Oulton Park in Cheshire

Plato on Pole at Oulton Park

Plato, who is in desperate need of a good result to stop early season pacesetters Matt Neal and Dan Eaves pulling clear in the title chase, had topped the morning's final free practice session before grabbing pole halfway through qualifying.

"We are back," said a jubilant Plato afterwards. "No one at the team knows exactly what happened at Brands Hatch (in the last round) when we lost the balance, but here the car is responsive to changes and we've gone quick.

"I am feeling confident about tomorrow. This is exactly where I want to be."

Plato's best lap of 1:28.958 was just more than one tenth of a second faster than Neal, who had headed the timesheets early on in qualifying. Neal was far from unhappy with the result, however, especially since he is carrying the maximum amount of ballast.

Third place on the grid went to Neal's Team Halfords Honda teammate Eaves, who is carrying the second highest amount of weight ballast following his early season success.

Vauxhall's Gavin Smith just edged out VX Racing's main championship challenger Yvan Muller with the fourth quickest time, with Tom Chilton takes sixth place behind Muller.

Qualifying Times:

Pos  Driver            Make                         Time     Gap
 1.   Jason Plato      Seat Toledo Cupra            1:28.958
 2.   Matt Neal        Honda Integra                1:29.089  + 0.131
 3.   Dan Eaves        Honda Integra                1:29.185  + 0.227
 4.   Gavin Smith      Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch   1:29.323  + 0.365
 5.   Yvan Muller      Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch   1:29.344  + 0.386
 6.   Tom Chilton      Honda Civic Type-R           1:29.351  + 0.393
 7.   Luke Hines       Seat Toledo Cupra            1:29.356  + 0.398
 8.   James Pickford   Seat Toledo Cupra            1:29.486  + 0.528 *
 9.   Colin Turkington Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch   1:29.491  + 0.533
10    Rob Collard      MG ZS                        1:29.981  + 1.023
11.   James Kaye       Honda Civic Type-R           1:30.168  + 1.210
12.   Richard Williams Lexus IS200                  1:34.408  + 5.450
13.   Mark Proctor     Vauxhall Astra Coupe         1:34.419  + 5.461
14.   Ian Curley       Lexus IS200                  1:34.694  + 5.736

(*) Pickford will be dropped six places as the result of a penalty
for violent conduct in the last race. All Timing Unofficial

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