BMW driver Colin Turkington says it "didn't feel like a pole lap" after battling "so much understeer", despite topping the British Touring Car Championship qualifying at Donington Park.
Light rain prevented drivers from improving throughout the session, keeping the defending champion top with his early time of 1min09.871sec - 0.644s clear of points leader Josh Cook.
For the previous round at Brands Hatch the top 14 drivers were covered by the same margin, leaving WSR driver Turkington surprised with his dominant form.
He told Autosport: "Before we went out, the sky was threatening, there was spots on the windscreen so you sort of got the feeling that you needed a good banker in straight away.
"I was conscious to push on those early laps and it felt like the tyres were coming in quite quickly so I pushed on the lap but it didn't feel like a pole lap because there was a lot of understeer in the car.
"I was surprised first of all when I saw the time."
When the session was red flagged after Bobby Thompson beached his Volkswagen CC in the gravel at the Old Hairpin, the set-up on Turkington's BMW 330i M Sport was changed.
But he was left "completely confused" after the adjustments made the problem even worse.
"I went out for my second run and we changed the car quite a bit to try and make it better," he said.
"But the track wasn't massively different from the first outing and there was so much understeer in the car."
"It was a very confusing situation because I was quite clear in my head what I needed to do after that first run to make the car better.
"So when I went out and the car was a good step worse I was completely confused."
The rear-wheel-drive cars are usually faster off the line. With front-row rival Cook carrying the maximum 54kg of success ballast and starting the first race on the hard compound tyres, Turkington should preserve his lead into Turn 1.
But he added that a lack of dry running meant the team still had "a few questions".
"Still going into tomorrow there's a lot of unknowns because we haven't really run in the dry and it's so difficult out there.
"I don't feel like I'm six tenths ahead of the pack - I got my lap done at the right time and still we've a few questions to answer as to where to point the car for, hopefully, the dry."