in Oulton Park qualifying
PLATO & TURNER RECORD SECOND SUCCESSIVE QUALIFYING LOCK-OUT FOR SEATFor the second consecutive event, SEAT's Jason Plato and Darren Turner completed a qualifying lock-out and will start the first of tomorrow's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at Oulton Park from the front row of the grid.
Plato, whose two victories at Snetterton a fortnight ago re-ignited his championship challenge, edged out team mate Turner by 0.16s for pole position despite carrying an extra 27kg of success ballast, and was delighted to see his championship rivals further down the grid.
Oxford-based Plato, now third in the standings, said: "The objective for today was to stick it on the front row and that's what Darren and I have done. We now need to have a strong day tomorrow and win some races because we're a long way behind in the points. It's taken some time to work out what makes this car tick, but we're getting much closer to the perfect set-up."
Plato and Turner had been consistently quickest throughout this morning's official practice sessions at the Cheshire circuit and the pair set their best qualifying times in the early stages of the 30 minute session. It was a mark that ultimately proved impossible for their rivals to match, despite a frantic final five minutes after a red flag caused by Chris Stockton's visit to the gravel trap.
Starting third tomorrow will be Tom Chilton after a great run in the Team Halfords Honda Civic. The Surrey man is still looking for his first win of the campaign and will be greatly boosted by this afternoon's performance.
Tom Onslow-Cole grabbed fourth place with a last gasp lap to edge out championship leader, reigning champion and VX Racing team mate Fabrizio Giovanardi. Carrying maximum success ballast around Oulton Park's undulating and demanding 2.2 miles was always going to be tough, but Giovanardi was able to complete the top five, albeit nearly half a second behind Plato.
Colin Turkington took the honours as the leading Independent runner and his Team RAC BMW 320si will start tomorrow's first race in eighth place. Adam Jones's Team Air Cool SEAT Leon completed an excellent day to finish ninth while BTCC rookie Andrew Jordan rounded out the top ten in his John Guest Racing Honda Integra.
Leading times, BTCC qualifying Oulton Park (provisional):
1. Jason Plato (GBR), SEAT Sport UK/SEAT Leon TDI, 1m27.688s2. Darren Turner (GBR), SEAT Sport UK/SEAT Leon TDI, +0.167s3. Tom Chilton (GBR), Team Halfords/Honda Civic, +0.444s4. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +0.453s5. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +0.473s6. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Team Halfords/Honda Civic, +0.562s7. Matt Neal (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +0.564s
8. Colin Turkington (GBR), Team RAC/BMW 320si, +0.747s9. Adam Jones (GBR), Team Air Cool/SEAT Leon, +0.919s10. Andrew Jordan (GBR), John Guest/Honda Integra, +1.072sClick here for the Tom Chilton web site - designed and built by Racecar