West Surrey Racing’s Colin Turkington took a dramatic last-gasp pole position, the first for the new BMW 125i, in another red flag-affected session at Croft.
Running was halted with four minutes to go, after a sizeable shunt exiting the chicane for Joe Girling’s Finesse Racing Chevrolet Cruze.
And when the session restarted, the 2009 champion timed his run to perfection to snatch top spot as the chequered flag fell.
It was an incredibly close session, with the top four covered by just 0.096 before Turkington jumped to the top, setting a new qualifying lap record in the process.
Triple Eight MG’s Jason Plato, who had held pole for much of the session, was second ahead of the Honda Racing Team pair of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, with Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan completing the top five.
Turkington’s team-mate Rob Collard continued his improving form in sixth, ahead of Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall, Plato’s team-mate Sam Tordoff, Tom Onslow-Cole and Adam Morgan.
It was an eventful 30 minutes, with Shedden catching a huge spin at Sunny early on, before hitting the barriers at the complex on his next flying lap.
Series returnee Michael Caine, who was a solid 15th in his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, had a trip through the gravel at Clervaux – as did Jordan, as he chased an improvement after the red flag.
In the Jack Sears Trophy, Lea Wood was fastest in his JWT Performance Vauxhall Vectra in 21st overall, with the impressive Jake Hill second in class on his series debut, in the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus.
The first of tomorrow’s three races takes place at 12:02 BST.