Plato tops qualifying

  • Last Updated: September 22 2012, 18:17 BST

Jason Plato claimed pole position for Sunday's opening British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham.

Jason Plato: Claimed pole position

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The Oxfordshire driver claimed his fifth pole of the season with a best time of one minute 22.448 seconds - a new lap record at the Northamptonshire track.

Factory Honda driver Gordon Shedden took second place, six tenths of a second back, while the Scot's team-mate Matt Neal - the current championship leader racing this weekend with a broken hand - was down in sixth.

With 251 points, Plato trails arch-rival Neal by 36 points heading into tomorrow's three races and knows that only victories will aid his title charge.

"From the moment I put my bum in the car this morning it's felt great - we've really moved it on but the job's only half done," he said on btcc.net.

"It's important I convert pole into a win or two tomorrow as I really need to take a bite out of the Honda drivers in the championship."

Shedden sits second in the championship on 277 points and said: "I'm both happy and disappointed with that. On one hand as a team we've got an awful lot out of the car in qualifying.

"That lap time I've done is a second faster than pole in 2011 but I'm still over six tenths off pole. Six tenths cover second down to 11th.

"Jason obviously got one heck of a lap out of it but tomorrow is very different with race tactics such as tyre management coming into it."

The Pirtek Racing Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan will start third after qualifying just 0.014secs behind Shedden, while Mat Jackson (Redstone Racing) took fourth.