L-R: Claude Sauber; Carlo Arendt; Credit: Claude Sauber

For the very first time, Luxembourg will be participating in the Gordon Bennett Cup, the world's oldest gas balloon race; the world championship will be held this Friday 13 September 2019 in Montbéliard in eastern France, with Carlo Arendt and Claude Sauber representing the Grand Duchy.

Represented for the first time in the Gordon Bennett Cup, which has been bringing together the world's best gas balloon pilots since 1906, Luxembourg will sound its anthem at the start of the 63rd edition of this prestigious race.

Balloonists Carlo Arendt and Claude Sauber will be flying the flag for Luxembourg on this occasion, competing with eighteen other international crews this Friday. For his part, Carlo Arendt, who is the director and founder of the New Spirit event service, is no stranger to races, having participated in the Raid Gauloises adventure race in Costa Rica and at the Paris-Dakar Rally on a motorcycle. Similarly, Claude Sauber, who is the director and partner of the communication agency Binsfeld, is an avid aviation enthusiast and hot air balloon pilot.

For the Gordon Bennett Cup, competitors must depart from the same starting point and travel the greatest distance without landing, without exceeding the limits of Europe and without any means of propulsion other than the atmospheric currents. Each balloon is equipped with just 1,000 m3 of gas and some 650 kilograms of sand in the basket. These gas balloons operate with hydrogen, which is lighter than air and thus very different from a hot air balloon. The crew who travel the longest distance by managing their resources (hydrogen and sand) in the most efficient way win the race.

Carlo Arendt and Claude Sauber, who have been preparing to live together for several days in a 2-m² boat at an altitude of between 300 and over 4,000 metres - sometimes in complete darkness -, intend to take up this challenge. The Luxembourg duo have regularly trained for several months in Gladbeck, Germany, a preferred take-off location due to its location next to a hydrogen plant.

During the race, the crew will be supported on the ground by a team of a dozen people including experts in meteorology and air traffic control. 

The race can be followed live at http://www.gordonbennettmontbeliard2019.com/.