Bruno Spengler is confident that he can continue to close the gap to Gary Paffett in the race for the DTM title at Valencia, despite qualifying 12th.
The Schnitzer BMW driver lies 11 points behind Paffett with just Sunday's race in Spain and the Hockenheim season finale to come.
With Paffett only qualifying 16th and his HWA Mercedes team-mate Jamie Green - also in title contention - 18th on the grid, a strong qualifying performance would have given Spengler a chance to significantly reduce his points deficit.
But the Canadian fell 0.006 seconds short of the time needed to make it into Q3 and will instead start 12th. Fellow BMW men polesitter Augusto Farfus, Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner will all start ahead of him.
Spengler believes that the long-run pace that the BMW has shown in the races during the second half of the year will allow him to fight his way into the points.
"That's the positive thing," he told AUTOSPORT. "Qualifying and the race are not the same and the car has been very strong in the race set-up recently, especially on the heavier fuel running at the start.
"I'd say that a finish in the top seven or eighth would be reasonable for me. That would close the gap to Gary to under 10 points, as long as he doesn't score, and that would be satisfying.
"I have to be realistic though. I'm starting P12 and there are lots of drivers ahead of me who don't want to let me by."
Spengler said that the key to his race will be avoiding damage during the opening lap, such is the funnel effect as the cars arrive at Turn 1.
"It's a big worry. I'd rather be at the front so I don't have to think about it. But the fact is we didn't hit it right today," he added.
"The car was sliding around a lot and it's something we need to fix for the warm-up. I didn't make a mistake on the Q2 lap. We just didn't hit the mark in the right way."