CAR insurer Admiral said it is on track to meet City profits expectations after sales leapt by 56% in a “great” first quarter.

The firm behind Diamond and said turnover hit £539m in the first quarter of 2011 as the insurer raised premiums and the number of vehicles it insured in the UK increased by 33% to 2.9m.

Shares in Cardiff-based Admiral rose by 4% after it said it could beat analysts’ expectations for a 21% rise in pre-tax profits to £321.8m in the full-year.

However, it said that turnover at price comparison website is flat and margins remain under pressure.

Chief executive Henry Engelhardt said the group had enjoyed another great quarter, helped by current market conditions.