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Stuck, Quester, Bayern versus Preining, Eng, Lietz: Generational conflict at the Ennstal-Classic 2024?

239 years of racing history meet a generation of drivers who only sat behind the wheel of a racing car for the first time around the millennium. What do Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Dieter Quester and Hans Joachim Stuck have over Thomas Preining, Philipp Eng and Richard Lietz? Or is it perhaps even the other way round?

One thing is clear: a certain virus is inherent in all six. One for which there is no cure except a car, a steering wheel and a race, preferably every day. Perhaps the old-timers were a little crazier on the road than the young ones, with seatbelts wrapped around their bodies, while the youngsters never went to the starting line without HANS.

The banter and pranks of the “Trio Infernal” were legendary, and everyone in every paddock where the three of them were present was afraid of them – and rightly so! If you were to do as much nonsense today as only one of the three once did, the FIA would ban you for all eternity.

So the old ones were the smarter ones after all? Have they gained more experience? Or is it the privilege of an Eng and a Preining, who both compete in the DTM – which once made a Stuck really big in the 1980s – to make real progress through the new realities of racing and thus the endless possibilities that today’s technology offers them.

The Ennstal-Classic is able to put some things into perspective in this “match”. By virtue of its interpretation as a sporting event (as opposed to a “racing event”), it equalises motorsport differences. In addition, the focus is on the cars, the beautiful, greying classics, witnesses to the days when the first three were already racing and the other three (Lietz is the oldest with “year of construction 1983”) were not even born yet. Basically, all six have their own way of expressing admiration for the exhibits on display. In dealing with them, at the wheel of them anyway.

Is there even a match? Why at all? What some of them could teach the others in terms of banter (which could even make the three of them blush), the others still have a career ahead of them – although of course it is not certain whether Dieter Quester’s career will outlast that of all the others. It’s a bit like Keith Richards, to whom we will have to leave everything at some point …