Jason Plato said he had achieved his pre-event aims after giving the new Chevrolet Cruze its Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship debut at Thruxton.
The 2001 title winner went into the weekend having set himself a target of 30 points with the new car, and ended the first round of the year having scored 31 points to lie second in the championship standings.
Having qualified fifth on the grid for race one, Plato secured a podium finish in second and looked set to add a second podium finish in race two before a coming together with Matt Neal late on left him down in fourth.
"Matt had such a good run, so I knew he'd have a go," he said. "I thought, I'd let him come round the outside of me and I'd hold him out as long as I could, so he wouldn't be able to get up the inside. But it didn't quite work. As we got onto the brakes, I lost the rear of my car, so it sent me in to him and it was game over. I was trying to be crafty but it was a bit of a mistake from me. It would have been nice for a second, but we'll take fourth."
Plato followed that with third place in the final race of the weekend and now heads to Rockingham looking to kick-start his season in earnest.
"I set myself a target of 30 points and came away with 31," he said. "Thruxton was primarily about turning in a solid points performance. It's a hard circuit, it really takes its toll on tyres and BTCC cars are heavy things.
"My aim was to make the car last and get some decent points on the board ahead of Rockingham and Brands, where we'll really go for it."