James Golding was delighted run top 10 pace at The Bend despite being wiped out in a late crash.
Golding had raced from 14th to eighth in the OTR SuperSprint finale, which was his fifth start back.
The Victorian was parachuted in to replace Garry Jacobson prior to Townsville.
A sensational result was on the cards on Sunday before David Reynolds lost control.
Golding and Reynolds were disputing eighth before the later clattered into the Subway Commodore at Turn 6.
Reynolds was caught out by standing water, with Golding an innocent bystander.
The Penrite Racing driver, who had charged from last on the grid. later took the blame for the crash.
Golding said the contact was “unfortunate” but was otherwise ecstatic to run towards the front.
“We were going awesome,” Golding told Supercars’ Cool Down Lap podcast.
“Made a few spots, and was trying to keep my nose clean.
“Unfortunate that Reynolds missed his braking point and couldn’t wash off any speed.
“It was pretty sketchy down there, it was like glass. Every lap you got through there, you achieved something.
“Unfortunate, but we still managed to get away with a top 15."
Golding cited green tyre running in qualifying as his chief weakness.
The 26-year-old qualified 23rd, 19th and 14th for the three sprints.
He vaulted from 23rd to 19th on Sunday, and was classified 23rd in Race 22 after a clash with Jack Le Brocq.
Golding reiterated there is “no set goal” on performance, but was pleased to make more incremental gains.
“It’s a pretty big improvement, considering it’s my second round back,” he said.
“We had good pace, we had a few consecutive fastest laps at different points of the race, which is pretty cool.
“[The next round] is about progressing further. There’s no real set goal.
“We want to keep moving forward, which we did this weekend.
“It wasn’t where we wanted to be early on in qualifying, but we saw improvement.
“That’s what we’re looking for. Learn the car more, knowing what I’m going to have.
“The more I get used to [green tyre runs in qualifying], we’ll start creeping forward.”
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