Virgin's technical director Nick Wirth praised the team's step forward after Timo Glock qualified in 15th position for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"Today has been a great day for everyone involved in Virgin Racing – a clear step forward for the team," said Wirth, whose team had never made it to Q2 before. "Despite still not running qualifying fuel loads, it was nice to again demonstrate the underlying potential of this car and its unique design process," added the Briton, referring to his cars still running with more fuel than necessary to work around its fuel pick-up issues.
"Timo continued to demonstrate our potential in Q1 and while some of our more experienced competitors elected to stay in the garage at the optimum time, Timo made it through to Q2.
"The Q2 session was tricky. We were running with all our weather prediction services warning us of an imminent downpour, so unfortunately we ran our last set of intermediate [tires] a little bit early, which costs us a place. Looking at our times from earlier today though, that won't matter in the race."
Glock was also very pleased with his day's performance. "It's been a very good weekend for us so far," he said. "We've had no real problems with the car and we've been able to do proper work during every session. Qualifying went quite smoothly considering the rain at the start of the session.
"It was critical to get out on time and my lap in Q1 was really good, getting me into Q2. It was good to see us do a better job than some of the top teams and as a result they will be starting behind us. Q2 wasn't perfect though as we came in too early and that cost us the place against Heikki.
"In general, though, we have to be happy with what we have achieved today. It's great for the team and there is now a lot of motivation for tomorrow. It looks like it could be a crazy race tomorrow, so we have to stay focused – and stay on the track – and we'll see how it all ends."
Teammate Lucas di Grassi, on the other hand, was unable to escape trouble and qualified at the bottom of the grid.
"Once more some problems affected us today and we had to rebuild parts of the car between practice and qualifying," di Grassi said. "It was touch and go whether we would even get the car out at all for qualifying, but the mechanics did an incredible job and because of that we were able to do at least a couple of laps to make sure the car was working well.
"While it has been a disappointing day for me personally, it has been a good day for the team so we all have to be pleased for that. We look forward to the race tomorrow and hope that brings better things, including achieving our target of finishing our first race."