Jason Plato took a dominant pole position for Triple Eight MG at Oulton Park, setting a time nearly half a second faster than team-mate and closest challenger Sam Tordoff.
The double champion only set four laps during the 30-minute session, spending much of it sat in the garage, waiting to see if anyone could beat him.
Tordoff was 0.431 behind, ahead of Honda Racing Team’s Gordon Shedden in third and Speedworks Motorsport’s Dave Newsham in fourth, taking his best grid slot of the season in his Toyota Avensis.
Shedden had his earlier times deleted after the stewards ruled he had exceeded track limits, but he managed to secure a spot on the second row with his first flying lap after the decision.
Andrew Jordan’s Eurotech Racing Honda Civic was fifth, with Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall sixth, and the improving West Surrey Racing BMW 125i of Colin Turkington in seventh.
Series leader Matt Neal was eighth, after a spin at Knickerbrook on what looked set to be his best lap, with Adam Morgan making it three Toyotas in the top 10 in ninth – and setting exactly the same time as Neal.
Tom Onslow-Cole rounded out the top 10 in his Tony Gilham Racing Volkswagen CC, while Lea Wood was the fastest of the Jack Sears Trophy runners in 19th in his JWT Performance Vauxhall Vectra.
The first of tomorrow’s three races takes place at 12:27 BST.