Paul O'Neill declared himself "over the moon" after qualifying fifth for the first of three British Touring Car Championship races at Rockingham.
The Tech-Speed Honda driver's effort was his best since leaving the works Vauxhall squad six years ago, and gave the team its highest qualifying position since 2004.
"I knew we'd be there or thereabouts," O'Neill said. "But honestly, I was aiming for the top 10 and I'd have been happy with that. I just got my head down, said ?'to hell with it, let's give it a go,' and this is the result. I'm over the moon."
Even more remarkable is that O'Neill's achievement came with his engineer Alex Somerset absent from the event.
"We did a couple of laps in first practice, then changed a few things for second practice, and in qualifying me and [team boss] Marvin [Humphries] just decided to put the best bits from each setup on the car, and it just handled so well," said O'Neill.
"I did the time on my second lap too, and after that I went off on oil [dropped by Matt Hamilton's Honda] and knackered my splitter, so I wouldn't have gone quicker anyway."