Harry Vaulkhard produced the best qualifying performance to date for Robertshaw Racing after taking eighth on the grid for the penultimate rounds of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
The BTCC rookie was impressive throughout Saturday at the wheel of his Chevrolet Lacetti, improving from 15th in the opening free practice session to break into the top ten in the second session.
Vaulkhard showed that pace was no flash in the pan however, when he then bettered his time once again in qualifying and secured his place on the fourth row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend.
"It's the best for the team and the best for me," he told Crash.net
. "We can be happy as are the first of the front-wheel drive Independent cars on the grid and we did it in an old car. Our car is only a 2006 model but in terms of the S2000 machines, most people have cars that are 2008 models or at least are 2008 spec – which puts us up against it. We found something in the dampers at Knockhill and maybe that is part of the reason why we have run well.
"It's a shame its come so late in the season but it is promising if we were able to get some of the 2008 updates for the car for next season, as we've been told they could be worth about half a second. We had a qualifying set-up on the car so we'll have to see how we go in the races but I want to try and get into the top ten in as many races as possible."
Team boss Joe Bradley was also pleased with his young charger, who has produced some encouraging performances at the wheel of the car since being left to fly the flag alone after Matt Allison called a halt to his campaign after Donington Park earlier in the year.
"The most important thing was that we were able to have two good free practice sessions," he said. "We run a fixed programme and if you lose time in practice, you don't get your programme done and it hurts you in qualifying as you don't have the set-up right.
"We should maybe have brought Harry in for new tyres a bit sooner towards the end so he could have got another flying lap in. It was tight on the times so we could possibly have got even higher than we have.
"We know what we have to do on race day and Harry has got some quick guys around him, but he is quick too. It's getting to the stage now where he isn't quite so awestruck and feels like he belongs, and feels like he is a proper BTCC driver."