Dan Cammish reckons he was never going to beat British Touring Car Championship title rivals Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan in Brands Hatch qualifying as BMW has got "DTM cars".
Last week Cammish signed a new two-year deal to remain at Team Dynamics in the series, and he enters the final round of the season second in the points - one ahead of Jordan but 17 adrift of Turkington.
But the Honda Civic Type R driver struggled to 12th in the rain-hit qualifying session - with Turkington on pole and Jordan third - and failed to improve on his final flying lap after running wide at Hawthorns on the Grand Prix circuit.
Cammish told ITV4: "I was really struggling with that one.
"We made some changes but I just can't turn the steering wheel anything off centre.
"We chased it all session, but unfortunately it took us too long to make a big enough change. [There was] no grip, no grip, no grip.
"We weren't going to beat BMW today, they've got a DTM car".
Defending champion Turkington - who, incidentally, drove the 2018 BMW M4 DTM car at Brands Hatch earlier this year - scored a dominant 20th BTCC pole by 0.316s over Ash Sutton.
But the WSR driver said he was surprised at the result, having returned to the pits for an unconventional mid-session spring setting change.
"I wasn't expecting it today," Turkington said. "It's been such a lottery all day.
"We were rolling the dice but knew pretty early on that the car was fast.
"I knew on the first few laps that we weren't in the right place, but it was still a pretty bold call [to change the springs] and I knew it was the right way to go.
"I'm just happy to survive that one. I was cautious not to try even harder to beat my own lap."
Team-mate Jordan caused the only red flag of the greasy session, for which he lost his fastest time and could not compete in the remaining five minutes.
The 2013 champion, who is widely expected to depart the BTCC after the final three races, hit the gravel at Hawthorns and ploughed into a tyre wall.
His second fastest lap was enough to keep him in third, with Jordan saying he never expected to beat Turkington to pole.
He told Autosport: "The car had been really good in free practice and I felt so confident in it but I just didn't have the confidence in qualifying.
"I was on the back foot with the car so I couldn't match Colin.
"We made a change and my first feeling on the second run was that it was a little bit better so might have nibbled a couple of tenths away but it didn't change the result.
"I either dropped my left-front on the white line into Hawthorns or I just was asking a bit too much on entry.
"You're pushing on so much that it's easy to happen."