Plato on pole at Rockingham
MG driver shatters lap record at Corby track
By William Esler. Last Updated: 22/09/12 5:48pm
Jason Plato: On pole at Rockingham
Jason Plato broke the qualifying lap record at Rockingham as the MG driver took his fifth BTCC pole position of the season.
The 44-year-old was in a class of his own at the Northamptonshire venue, dominating the field as he finished six tenths clear of his nearest challenger.
To put his advantage into context, only a further six tenths covered second placed Gordon Shedden to 11th placed Tom Onslow-Cole.
Behind the Scot was Andrew Jordan - the privateer Honda driver missing out on a front row start by just 0.014 seconds.
Mat Jackson impressed in the new NGTC Ford Focus, which only made its debut at Snetterton, taking fourth spot ahead Andy Neate in the second MG and championship leader Matt Neal.
"From the moment I put my bum in the car this morning its felt great - we've really moved it on but the job's only half done," said Plato.
"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."
Honda Racing's Shedden admitted he had mixed emotions after qualifying, as he chases his first BTCC title.
He said: "I'm both happy and disappointed. On one hand as a team we've got an awful lot out of the car in qualifying.
"The lap time I've done is a second faster than pole in 2011 but I'm still over six tenths off pole - another 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..."
Andrew Jordan was pleased with third and is predicting a strong weekend, having saved a set of tyres in qualying.
"It was a pretty uneventful session for me," he added.
"I only did one flying lap and was quite happy with the time so decided save some fresh sets of tyres for tomorrow's races - it a very abrasive circuit here after all. There was no point trying to challenge Jason as it was never going to happen."