Anton De Pasquale admitted there was a point when he thought a maiden Supercars win was on before narrowly missing out on a second career podium at Townsville.
After starting from seventh, the Penrite Racing driver found himself in the lead with a 35 second margin after the team made a call to switch to wet tyres before the front runners, and prior to conditions worsening.
De Pasquale took on wets on Lap 21 shortly after the Safety Car was deployed when Jamie Whincup found the wall after losing control on the exit of Turn 6.
Despite burning his wet rubber while chasing rivals on slicks, the tables turned when the rain intensified forcing the majority of the grid to pit for wets.
Equipped with a sizeable lead, albeit short on fuel, De Pasquale only needed to extend his margin by two seconds to pit and rejoin in front.
However, energy taken out of the tyres contributed to off track excursions at Turn 2 and Turn 11 that ultimately dashed hopes of victory despite leading for 29 laps.
A trip to the pits during the final Safety Car period saw the 23-year-old rejoin the track in fifth just behind Chaz Mostert, who was then forced to handover fourth before the chequered flag, having completed the overtake while De Pasquale merged back onto the track under caution.
“I think at one point it (the win) was on,” De Pasquale told Speedcafe.com, after scoring his second best result in the series following a maiden podium at Phillip Island in April.
“There was a lot of things that had to play out.
“We made a good call to go early to the wets. It was probably during that four, five lap period where it was kind of both ways could work.
“I probably torched the tyre a little bit and then every time it started raining a bit heavier, the track got wetter, I struggled and made a couple of mistakes which never helps.
“A couple guys behind me probably got a little bit of pace and then I made a couple of mistakes which cost a bit more time which then took us out a little bit but I have no idea.
“For most of it, I had no idea where I was. They (the team) obviously coached me through it but it’s always hard to tell what’s going on.
“But yeah, there was definitely a podium there but couldn’t get it.
“At the start of the day if you said I was getting fourth, I’d shake your hand and do a deal, but when you’re in the position to get a trophy, bit disappointing when you don’t.”
While disappointed to miss out on a second podium finish, De Pasquale enjoyed being in contention for a top five result after finishing 11th in Race 17 on Saturday.
”Overall we’re pretty happy,” he added.
“(We) got good points for the weekend and took a big step forward from Saturday to Sunday.
“For the last few rounds (we have) been in contention for top five results pretty consistently. As a whole, we’re happy I can’t complain.”
De Pasquale is lying 11th in the championship standings heading into the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint from July 26-28.