Mat Jackson took a first ever pole for Motorbase Performance in a hugely entertaining BTCC qualifying session at Rockingham, setting a new lap record to head home Aron Smith and Gordon Shedden.
Jackson's lap of 1.22.087 in the Ford Focus ST was enough to pip Team BMR's Smith by just 0.050s, with Honda's Shedden staging a late dash after a red flag stoppage to take third, 0.213 off the pace.
Triple Eight Racing's Jack Goff and Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram had both held top spot at various stages of the session, ending up in career-best fourth and fifth places ahead of championship leader Jason Plato in sixth.
Shedden's teammate Neal was seventh ahead of Aiden Moffat, another driver enjoying a career-best qualifying performance, with Colin Turkington recovering to ninth after being marooned down in 15th and spinning at Pif Paf.
Goff's teammate Andrew Jordan rounded out the top 10, with Sam Tordoff the best of the West Surrey Racing cars in 11th after a disappointing session for Dick Bennetts' team.
The first 19 cars were covered by an incredible 0.755s, down to Ciceley Racing's Adam Morgan in an uncharacteristically bad grid position.
The session was red-flagged with three minutes to go with Infiniti's Derek Palmer went off into the gravel at Tarzan, with the clock being reset to five minutes when the session restarted.
Jackson had lost pole in similar circumstances at Knockhill, but his bad luck didn't repeat itself in Northamptonshire as Shedden was the only major mover.
There were also spins for Handy Motorsport's Robb Holland and AmD Tuning's Nicolas Hamilton, while the second AmD car of Mike Bushell qualified 23rd after earlier losing all his times for failing a ride height check.
|Pos||Driver||Car / Engine||Time||Gap|
|27||Derek Palmer Jr.||Infiniti||1'24.565||2.478|