The Subaru of Jason Plato snatched pole position at the latest possible moment in the British Touring Car Championship’s annual visit to Knockhill.
Plato’s Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT had been on the pace all day at the tricky Scottish track, topping the first free practice session in the morning. But in a half-hour qualifying session interrupted by two red flags he looked to have lost out when the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram snatched pole following the final restart with less than three minutes remaining.
Coming up to take the chequered flag, however, Plato shaved 21 thousandths of a second from Ingram’s lap to take his first pole at the circuit since 2012.
Behind Ingram’s Toyota the second row for the first of three 24-lap races on Sunday will comprise the BMWs of Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff, Tordoff arriving at the circuit holding second in the series points. But it was a disastrous session for the third BMW of championship leader Rob Collard, who could only manage 18th spot.
Also struggling were the Halfords Yuasa Honda Civic Type Rs of Matt Neal and reigning champion Gordon Shedden. A late lap from Neal secured a seventh start spot, but Shedden, who works at the Knockhill circuit during the week, suffered boost problems throughout the session and could only manage 11th best time.
Plato will be hoping to convert his pole position to his first win on Sunday, having so far been outshone in the BMR team by Colin Turkington. Having taken all of Subaru’s three wins so far, the Irishman will start race one from fifth spot.
BTCC Knockhill, Top Ten qualifying
1. Jason Plato, Subaru Levorg GT, 51.121sec
2. Tom Ingram, Toyota Avensis, 51.542
3. Sam Tordoff, BMW 125i, 51.551
4. Jack Goff, BMW 125i, 51.567
5. Colin Turkington, Subaru Levorg GT, 51.619
6. Andrew Jordan, Ford Focus, 51.818
7. Matt Neal, Honda Civic Type-R, 51.880
8. Adam Morgan, Mercedes A-Class, 51.899
9. Rob Austin, Toyota Avensis, 51.912
10. Dave Newsham, Chevrolet Cruze, 51.958