Gordon Shedden scorched to pole yesterday ahead of today's British Touring Car Championship showdown at Croft.
The Scottish driver shrugged off the demons which have blighted his championship charge this season to take top spot in the closing moments of the half-hour qualifying session.
As the fans baked in the sunshine, Shedden turned up the heat on the track, setting a blistering lap of 1.26:243m around the fast and challenging North Yorkshire circuit.
The earlier practice sessions were dominated by Team RAC's Colin Turkington and Shedden's team- mate, reigning champ Matt Neal.
But once qualifying got underway, it was the Scot who had the legs over his rivals; and after looking quick throughout, he set his hot lap just a minute before the chequered flag.
And the Team Halfords driver, who has so far struggled to get to grips with his 2007 Honda Civic, admitted he was delighted to have finally pulled in his first pole of the year.
"I'm thrilled, at last I finally feel like the car is working for me," he told the Sunday Sun last night.
"I've had a difficult start to the season, so it's great to be starting the first race from the front of the grid.
"I was particularly happy with the Civic and the way it's handling around here, so I'm feeling confident we can capitalise on this once the racing gets underway."
Second on the grid for the first of today's three races is Ulsterman Turkington, who had initially looked on course to take pole, with SEAT's Darren Turner lining up third.
But it wasn't such a good day for honorary Geordie Jason Plato who - thanks to the extra weight of success ballast - could only manage eighth in his SEAT Sport UK Leon.
However, the championship leader remained upbeat and has his mind set on a race two victory. "I was always going to be slower because of the success ballast," he said. "I knew I was going to be about six tenths of a second off Darren so I'm not overly concerned."