Returning British Touring Car champion Alain Menu believes his VW Passat had the potential to take pole at Brands Hatch, despite qualifying eighth.
The 1997 and 2000 BTCC champion suffered a number of problems in free practice, including power steering issues, and completed few flying laps.
Menu nevertheless qualified his BMR machine on row four, one spot behind team-mate Aron Smith, and just over 0.2s slower than Andrew Jordan's pole time of 48.228s.
"The car was not nice at all in practice," Menu told AUTOSPORT. "I went into qualifying not knowing what to expect so I am pleased with what I did.
"I think the potential is there for a 48.2."
Menu does not have long-run experience with the Passat ahead of his NGTC debut, so is unsure of where he can get to in the race.
"I want to finish and get some points," he added. "I've not done a race distance so I don't know what to expect."
Fellow returning champion Fabrizio Giovanardi was at a loss to explain why he qualified his Motorbase Ford Focus down in 18th, 0.7s behind Jordan.
"The balance is not bad," he said. "We are looking for the real issue - there wasn't anything particular to explain such a big gap."