MOTORSPORTS: Fan favourite Craig Lowndes denies his shuffle into Triple Eight's third car has disadvantaged him despite enduring his worst season in more than a decade.
Though still seventh in the standings, the Holden star has battled to compete at the pointy end of the grid with his only podium this season the abandoned race at Tasmania where no points were awarded.
Lowndes was runner-up in four of the past six seasons; in the last of which (2015) he comfortably outperformed legend teammate Jamie Whincup.
But since Shane van Gisbergen's 2016 arrival into a Red Bull seat alongside Whincup, with Lowndes being accommodated in a third car run under the TeamVortex banner, the No.888 driver has slid down the pecking order.
He still managed two race wins and fourth overall last year but fell back this season.
"The whole season itself has been up and down," Lowndes said. "It's no secret our qualifying has let us down."
However, he refused to blame the Queensland team's restructuring for his results.
"Having our own sort of show has been great for us," the 43-year-old said.
"It's not like we have been disadvantaged. The car has been prepped the same.
Lowndes has had four different race engineers in the past four seasons - Jeromy Moore, Grant McPherson, Ludo Lacroix and John McGregor.
With carnage brewing in a potentially wet Gold Coast 600 this weekend, the vast experience of Lowndes and co-driver Steven Richards, 45, could be critical.
"If we have got a good car that we can drive in those conditions," Lowndes said.
"I think both Richo and I will be capable of staying out of trouble."
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