Plenty of incidents and a car with almost every part broken and repaired. Petri Kiikka, the founder of the Sontek Group, the parent company of Gredi, returned to Finland wiser and with great experiences. Petri participated in the world’s toughest vintage and classic endurance rally, The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, in a Volvo driven by his father Martti Kiikka.
The seventh Peking to Paris Motor Challenge added 14,000 kilometres to Volvo´s odometer. Daily stages reached up to 650 kilometres. Martti and Petri Kiikka were the only driving team from Finland.
The cars started on June 2, 2019 from Beijing, China, and finished in Paris, France on July 7, 2019. Kiikka’s 1962 model Volvo PV544 finished fourth in the classic car category. It is a great achievement in a race where not everyone even gets to the finish. The first cars dropped out already in China. Not even Kiikka’s Volvo could make it undamaged. Among other things, the exhaust pipe broke down four times.
“120 cars started from Beijing. 90 cars were left when the rally arrived from Russia to Finland. Crossing the finish line in Paris remained just a dream for many”, Petri Kiikka begins. Rally visited Hyvinkää, Finland for the first time ever on 28-29th June. In addition to the rally enthusiasts and cheerleaders, Martti and Petri Kiikka were welcomed by Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Parliament and Simo Lampinen, a rally legend. From Hyvinkää the rally continued across Europe to Paris. But what happened before that?
Before arriving in Hyvinkää, Finland, there were tough experiences in China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia. “80% of survival depends on good preparations, whether related to the car, fuel or food supplies. You can’t drive in China without a Chinese driver’s license, so everyone got a new driver’s license right away!”, Petri says.
“In many cities, and even in remote areas, there were cameras, crowds of spectators and cheering children”, Petri smiles. Sometimes they navigated with a paper map, sometimes with the cell phone GPS, and sometimes just by guess, because Martti and Petri do not master Chinese or Russian. Thus, they made several extra legs when driving in Beijing and St. Petersburg. In the mornings, the organizer gave newest changes to the route map, if the route had been changed, for example due to floods.
“Mongolia was a tough place for a car. The constant pounding in speeds over one hundred kilometres per hour takes a toll on you. The chassis must be flexible and durable at the same time. The body frame was deformed badly, and the road clearance fell lower. The roof should have had roll bars in case of crashes. We were lucky not to have an engine failure”, Martti reveals.
The weather was a surprise. “The weather was really good, and there were no sandstorms this time. In one special stage the car was so muddy, that driving was worse than during the winter in Finland. In the mountains there were minus degrees with occasional sleeting. Luckily the thunderstorms only hit during the evening, not while driving”, says Petri.
Rally days stretched up to even 12 hours. Some were special stages, some demanded both speed and precision with penalties if you finished too late. Or too early. “You had to turn the wheel even when tired. Fortunately, the adrenaline kept us alert”, says Martti. “We always had a full breakfast in the camp. When driving we only had ice tea, water and boiled eggs. There was usually no time for a meal break”, Petri says.
“It was a nice surprise that my body endured well, and I feel great even after this trip”, Martti sums up. “We didn’t have any big arguments. Despite the age difference we share the same values of life, and everything went well”, Petri sums up.
The number one favourite of the rally was Gerry Crown, 87, who won the classic car category. Gerry has a long history of winning, and now he was driving a Leyland with the strongest engine in the rally. The cars that finished in the top, like Gerry’s car, were mainly built by driving team members. Many also checked their cars in the camp. The car was lifted up, tires off, inspection of all nuts and bolts. And the same routine every night. “The Steam Ghost was the favourite of the press, and with extra care that too managed to finish the race”, says Martti.
Although the speed was high and major damages hit many of the cars, the only dead bodies were those of millions of mosquitoes that hit windshields. “The worst accident was when a Belgian driver rolled his Porsche and was taken to a hospital. But he then continued the rally with another car”, says Petri.
“The competitors felt very tense in the beginning and hence stayed strictly focused in the rally. Upon arrival in Europe our common experiences turned into good new relationships. Of course, we talked a lot about the cars, but also about the challenges of the economy, the environment and the humankind as a whole in a changing world we all live in”, Martti ponders.
“In all countries we were treated very well. The huge size of the crowds was amazing! The more remote the place, the better the treatment. Families living in clay houses looked happy, even though their economy is probably tight and life expectancy low”, says Martti and Petri. “Car repairmen in remote villages were eager to offer help free of charge. It was painful, when people living in tough conditions, were not accepting any payment for their help”, Petri says.
What was the best lesson learned? “No matter how busy you are, sit down and think for a minute before you take action. One hundred kilometres in the wrong direction is not the best solution”, Petri jokes seriously.
Charity is the rule and not an exception in this rally. Many competitors used the rally to raise funds for their own charity projects and wrote about the projects on their blogs. The Kiikkas supported charities that promote young people and world peace.
“Right now? Of course! It would be a great tradition in the family if after 10 years I went with my daughter to drive the same rally”, Petri says. Martti admits that he has talked with Petri about many new rallies. After all, it would take only about 1,000 hours and three years to prepare the car ready to rally.
In the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, not all cars on the starting line survived to the finish. Some cars got lost, some broke down, and some lost power under heavy use.
In heavy use, the usual problems of losing power or breaking down will not occur when the organization and its ecosystem are tuned to Gredi Content HUB. Gredi Content HUB brings together all the content and materials in one place. From there, marketing, communications, sales and partners, as well as media, can easily find, use, and responsibly distribute them to anyone in need. Whether it is pictures, videos or other materials.
Get to know Gredi Content HUB and watch our 1 minute video: https://www.gredi.fi/en/get-know-gredi-content-hub/
Organizer of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge: www.endurorally.com
Peking to Paris Motor Challenge results, route, rally reports, photos, videos and competitors´ blogs: https://www.endurorally.com/events/the-7th-peking-to-paris-motor-challenge/
Kiikkas’ driving log and photos: www.koulutuselamaan.fi/pekingtoparis
Sontek Group: http://www.sontek.fi/
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The hero of all adventures, Indiana Jones would smile happily if he saw Petri Kiikka, founder of the Sontek Group, taking part in the world’s toughest vintage and classic endurance rally in a Volvo, that will be driven by his father Martti Kiikka. The Peking to Paris 2019 Motor Challenge crosses 11 countries, lasts 36 days and runs 12,000 kilometers. Indiana Jones can’t see this race, but you can.
The first Peking to Paris Motor Challenge was run in 1907. For the Finns, the rally route is historic, as Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, the Marshal of Finland, rode the same route on a horse just a year earlier.
Now, the seventh Peking to Paris 2019 Motor Challenge adds 12 000 to 13 000 kilometers to the odometer, depending on the route choices and whether the drivers get lost. Martti and Petri Kiikka are the only Finnish driving team in this legendary rally that includes 120 cars. At Martti’s suggestion, the rally arrives to Hyvinkää, Finland on 28-29 June, for the first time in the history of the rally.
“There are all kinds of drivers in these rallies,” says Martti Kiikka. “In the last year’s rally, one guy was missing a passport and couldn’t start the race. He turned out to be a king of a country and could not be out of the country for more than 30 days, otherwise he may have been dethroned. Participants also include former Formula engineers and team managers. Everybody stands on the same starting line. Part of the charm of the race is that you are part of a community. There are no titles.”
Kiikka’s 1962 model Volvo PV544 carries the number 59 on it. “It is estimated that 10% of the cars cannot make it to the end, for one reason or another. We expect to cross the finish line in Paris, France on July 7th. There are thousands of kilometers with no road at all. No roads except camel trails. The Volvo is able to wade in rivers if there are no bridges. Pushing cars out of mud is part of the race”, says Petri Kiikka. Sounds like a movie?
The driving conditions range from calm weathers to sandstorms. Mongolia with its more than four kilometers high mountain peaks is such a vast country to drive through. The terrain varies from swamp to jungle. And includes the world’s largest desert, the Gobi Desert.
It has been agreed that Petri drives the asphalt stages and Martti takes care of the rest.
There will be many stamps in the passports. “And where there are no border lines, we will make one,” says Martti Kiikka. He is grateful to the race organizers whose experience is world class.
“Our car hobby started quite unintentionally. Me and my sister bought an MGB convertible as a gift to our father for his 50th birthday. Father then decided to drive rally with it”, says Petri Kiikka. “And Petri joined the race with his own Volvo Amazon. Petri was under 20 years of age and had just got a driving license”, says Martti Kiikka and smiles. They both like big vintage cars. In addition, Petri has a huge Matchbox collection as a gift from Martti.
“The vintage cars are fascinating, just like old times in general. Life used to be simpler and easier, and cars were made to last”, says Martti Kiikka. “Those old-time toys have soul and character. They are just like the Beatles of their time, lasting over times”, adds Petri Kiikka.
Martti has license plates from 15 long races on his wall. For Martti “long” means over 10,000 kilometers. What about Petri? “This is my first endurance race. But there has been lots of training.”
The tough race demands guts. “One Lancia codriver lost his nerves during the first day and the driver had to manage the rest of the race on his own. In spite of some incidents he managed to make it to the finish line. This is my first long race with my son. It may be that all goes great. Or we might end up arguing. When you are tired you may act foolishly. Fortunately, this is not my first race. We have been driving the previous races with my wife, and we are still happily married”, says Martti Kiikka. Now his wife will come by a fan bus from Ulaanbaatar to Novosibirsk to cheer for them.
“The daily stages in this race are up to 900 kilometers. If we get stuck in the mud or sink into the sand, we push or pull the car out and just try to catch the others”, says Petri Kiikka. The race includes special stages where you race against time. Both endurance and speed are crucial.
Is the famous duct tape the most important car repair tool? “When our engine fell down in the Gobi Desert we lost 17 minutes of racing when fixing the engine back. The car must be as simple as possible! Our car has been built so that there is space for important spare parts under the rear seat. Simple equipment, wrench, screwdriver and tape must be included. Suspension and electricity will certainly break down. The fuel is guaranteed to be poor quality. That’s why your imagination is the most important tool. You need MacGyver’s character”, laughs Martti Kiikka.
What are the features required from the codriver? “When things go well, it is enough to separate the left from right and just follow the odometer. When things turn bad, one must know how to improvise”, says Petri Kiikka.
It is important for both Martti and Petri Kiikka to drive this race, as they want to support certain charities and to promote the important activities created to support Finnish youth. This time there are two charities in particular: www.koulutuselamaan.fi and www.reservinmentorit.fi. During the race, the sticker “The wheels rotate for world peace” shines on the side of Volvo. “Everyone can influence with their own actions, even to world peace,” says Martti Kiikka.
This legendary race brings all the cars together in one place, just like the brilliant digital asset and brand management service Gredi Content HUB gathers all the materials in one place.
You should come and see when these 120 (minus 10%) endurance cars that survived the adventure are on display in Hyvinkää Sveitsi and in Vauhtipuisto 28-29.6.2019. On Saturday, June 29th, the race qualifying will take place in Hyvinkää as well! In addition to the Kiikka’s Volvo, many other world classics participating the Peking to Paris 2019 rally, are on display, for example, Alfa Romeo, Buick, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, MGB, Morris, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Porsche, Rolls Royce and Rover.
“Just to mention a few. And also, the replica of Contal Mototri that participated the very first race in 1907. In 1907, Contal Mototri was stuck in the Gobi Desert, and the drivers barely made it to Beijing. Now the car has another chance. Two Dutchmen are going to try their luck this time,” says Petri Kiikka.
Since life is an adventure, what is the best tip for the trip? “Don’t use your elbows. You may yourself get in to trouble with the same person you have just passed using elbow tactics”, says Martti Kiikka wisely.
Interested? Read more!
The organizer www.endurorally.com
Peking to Paris 2019 Rally, participants and cars: https://www.endurorally.com/events/the-7th-peking-to-paris-motor-challenge/
Hyvinkää Vauhtipuisto: https://hyua.fi/vauhtipuisto/
Sontek Group: http://www.sontek.fi/
Get to know Gredi Content HUB (video): https://www.gredi.fi/en/get-know-gredi-content-hub/
The Green League (the Greens) Campaign Manager Kirsi Syväri says that as the elections are approaching, the Greens want to make it easier for their candidates to execute their election campaigns in a brand managed way. Gredi Content HUB was a clear choice for the Greens as their campaign asset and brand management solution.
“We used to have an image editor for social media use, but that was completely inadequate for print campaigns. Candidates have asked us for a proper tool so that they didn’t need to use expensive and difficult graphics software to produce campaign ads and other promotional materials. So the need was obvious,” says Kirsi Syväri.
“Interesting people gather the most votes, we Finns love them. We are not going to control the candidates’ campaign pictures and texts. We give all our 200 candidates the freedom to produce their own marketing material in our Content HUB. With the HUB we manage our brand and the Greens’ colour scheme, logos and text types are always the same. The candidates can customize the images and the texts.”
Founded in 1988, the Greens’ important themes include equality, the environment and the Nordic welfare state. Today, the Greens is made up of about 200 associations operating at local, regional or nationwide level. The Greens have about 9,000 members. Political policies are decided by the party delegation. Practical activities are led by the board of the party. The party convention has highest decision-making power.
Interested? Watch a video of less than a minute to see what you can do with Gredi Content Hub!
Gredi’s customers have a great opportunity to get good quality translations and language versions quickly, because Gredi works with Transfluent. Each Gredi Content Hub customer can order “Order translation” button and feature from Gredi’s Matti Tammisalo or Risto Pasanen. After that, ordering translations from Content Hub is quick by just pressing the “Order translation” button. Then you just select the desired languages and the service will automatically show the price and delivery time for the translation.
Transfluent Sales Director Janne Viinikainen says that Transfluent’s biggest competitive advantages are ease of use and a very fast, high-quality translation work.
“In traditional translation agencies, the project manager first accepts the work. In Gredi’s service, Transfluent’s translators take the job directly. Transfluent has translators around the world, in different time zones. So in the best case, if the translation request is made at 10 p.m., the ready-made translation is available for the marketing director at 8 a.m. the following morning,” says Janne Viinikainen.
“We have NDAs, or non-disclosure agreements with all our translators. Confidential information will remain with our translators. Especially large multinationals are very careful that their business-critical information is translated by NDA-based translators,” says Janne Viinikainen.
“We have people doing translation work. Each of our translators is a carefully selected and tested professional. We handle translation work for over 100 language pairs. The language pair is for example Finnish-Chinese or English-German. The range of languages is comprehensive even for the most demanding customers,” says Janne Viinikainen.
“We have a customer-specific translation memory and terminology bank, which ensures that the company’s special terminology is as it should be, and that it remains in control and unified,” says Janne Viinikainen.
“Transfluent’s customers are Finland’s most important brand owners. The clientele includes gaming companies, airlines, law firms, telephone manufacturers, telecom operators, biotechnology companies, industrial companies and educational institutions, among others,” says Janne Viinikainen. “Common for our customers are international operations and wide range of translation needs.”
The Gredi Content Hub “Order translation” service is easy and convenient to use. “The cooperation between Gredi and Transfluent works particularly well, because we both act quickly in the digital world, with 100% good processes and a streamlined concept,” says Janne Viinikainen. “It gives benefits and competitiveness to both Gredi’s and our customers.”
Gredi provides you with standard interfaces to exchange information between your Digital Asset Management solution and other business systems. Get ready-made integrations to many popular product, customer, and business information management systems. You also get integration to other translation systems. Gredi will also take care of the publication of the material for you on social media, e-commerce or other business systems.
Matti Tammisalo, Sales Director, Gredi Oy
+358 50 583 8319
Risto Pasanen, Managing Director, Gredi Oy
+358 40 849 2620
Transfluent Oy, customer service
+358 9 231 630 84
Transfluent is an international translation agency that operates locally. Our professional translators will carefully translate your files and texts to their own mother tongue.
Holiday Club Resorts offers thousands of different accommodation options on its website, and all of them are presented in a comprehensive way with stylish images and other content, produced by Holiday Club’s marketing department. It is easier to manage the huge number of images in a modern digital asset management solution than in website content management system.
Holiday Club Resorts marketing utilizes Gredi’s dynamic templates, allowing various digital content to be customized into branded marketing content. Whether it is printed or digital marketing material, the final content can now always be produced locally at the resort and by local staff, according to brand guidelines.
Sinebrychoff desires more efficiency in marketing and communication as well as controlled brand management in communication between its own organization and customers. Sinebrychoff’s dynamic asset management solution for its restaurant customers is complemented by Gredi Content Hub where Sinebrychoff centralizes all of its digital asset management.
“We have had a traditional media bank for ages. We wanted to get more power out of digital asset management and we also needed to cut down overlapping solutions. We were searching for a modern solution that is capable of meeting the requirements of today’s digital communication and content management,” says Sinebrychoff’s Brand Activation Manager Tuuli Kajaani.
During Sinebrychoff’s history, there have been tons of different images created. Gredi Content Hub also acts as a digital archive for Sinebrychoff, and this way the company’s long tradition is conveyed digitally and securely to future generations.
“We chose Gredi because they had good references about well-functioning implementations. My own previous experience of Gredi’s service, their way of working and response to our needs was also convincing,” continues Tuuli Kajaani.
“We thank Sinebrychoff for trust and we are looking forward to working hard for our expanding co-operation. At the same time, we welcome Sinebrychoff’s team members and their entire digital media to Gredi. We will take good care of it and do our best to meet their needs in the future,” says Gredi’s CEO Risto Pasanen.
Sinebrychoff is Finland’s leading brewery, which produces beers, ciders and soft drinks and energy drinks. It also offers a comprehensive range of international beers and through partners a wide range of other alcoholic beverages.
Sinebrychoff started brewing in 1819. Today it is the oldest brewery in the Nordic countries and the oldest food company in Finland. Sinebrychoff manufactures Coca-Cola drinks in Finland. Sinebrychoff is part of the international Carlsberg Group.
Gredi archives the Crown Jewels of Sanomat by implementing Sanoma’s new Digital News Archive, which is integrated into their editorial systems.
“Digital News Archive is a critical content service that must work in all circumstances. The platform is stable, and the benefits of accelerating the usage are already apparent. That’s why I recommend the Gredi’s operating model,” says Sami Majaniemi from Sanomat.
Gredi congratulates its client Finnish Ski Association for an excellent agreement. Traditional Finlandia Ski Marathon will be held in China for the following five years 2020–2024. The venue is the city of Harbin, home to 10 million people.
Co-operation was agreed upon during a state visit by President Sauli Niinistö in the opening ceremony of the China-Finland Winter Sport theme Year 2019. The Finnish Ski Association signed a licensing and consulting agreement on the matter.
Gredi’s brisk and prominent sports sector customers include the Finnish Ski Association and the Finnish Floorball Federation.
Gredi has customers both in the private and the public sectors – over 135 brand owners, including Aktia, Alko, Alma Media, Edupoli, Finavia, Fonecta, Hartwall, Kalevala Koru, Kemira, KONE, Lumon, Management Events, Olvi, Gustav Paulig, Ponsse, Sako, Sanoma, Senate, Sinebrychoff, Suunto, Tamro, YIT, as well as political parties, schools and non-governmental organisations.
Read our customer success story featuring SAKO. Learn how the challenges were tackled and the benefits gained and how this affected SAKO’s marketing and communication as well as their partners.
Management Events received a digital asset management solution that enables dynamic production of sales and marketing material. Material that is related to the company’s events, intelligent archiving and real-time sharing. Previously, files were stored on hard drives and distributed as attachments. The process was tough, and the possibility of errors was always present. With Gredi’s DigiSmart solution, Management Events sales and marketing experts around the world have access to up-to-date information and materials that are always in line with brand guidelines.
Case Tamro: Gredi implemented Tamro’s Aino Data Portfolio system in accordance with their requirements to manage the challenges of digital asset management. The solution offers intelligent tools for marketing and communications of the entire company. It also offers technologies to enhance operational efficiency and to enable modern digital marketing. The need was to have a domestics modular digital asset management solution that will serve not only its own experts but also customer target groups and key marketing communications partners. Read the full story here.
Read also about our solution for KONE Corporation (customized digital asset management solution) here.
Our customer story Kone Corporation: The challenge of marketing and communications in a global marketplace is to deliver consistent customer and brand experience regardless of market and channel. Marketing and communication content and related digital material must be easily found, locally edited, and distributed to different channels in accordance with brand guidelines. Gredi implemented a digital, tailored asset management solution for KONE Corporation according to their needs. Take a closer look at this solution and the valuable benefits it offers.
Gredi implemented Ponsse’s digital and dynamic material bank solution, which collected all digital material for Ponsse’s marketing communications. The goal was to make marketing activities and brand management more efficient as well as to efficiently share marketing material and other information in different channels, in all markets and to selected users.
Read more about the challenges Ponsse had, the solution Gredi provided and the benefits Ponsse has experienced.
Finlandia Vodka is exported to over 100 countries. In order to consider the needs of both production and the global distribution network in terms of product, label and packaging material information, Brown-Forman Finland must have a system and process to implement everything with a consistent brand management. The company implemented Gredi’s modular material bank solution and integrated it into the Altia Rajamäki plant’s production control system.
When products are exported to more than 100 countries, there are a lot of product labels, packaging and transport materials. While the legislation on alcoholic products varies widely between countries, it is essential to manage the whole as effectively as possible. To ensure data security and prevent improper use, all materials must be in one secure location that only authorized users can access.
Gredi provided Brown-Forman Finland with an intelligent Digital Asset Management solution that enables the management of company’s all label and packaging materials through one service globally on a 24/7 basis. The Gredi solution is also integrated with Altia’s Rajamäki plant’s production control system, which ensures that the production line controls in real time that there is the right product in production. Thus, the label and packaging material available from the service will accept and ensure the start of production.
Gredi’s solution has brought many benefits to Brown-Forman Finland’s marketing and production:
“The continuous development of the service, the know-how of Gredi’s production team and close cooperation are the main reasons why our partnership has been going on for 16 years. Ideas are always shared, and if we have any questions, Gredi will always solve the challenge,” says Asta Seppälä-Puputti, Portfolio and packaging artwork manager at Brown-Forman Finland.
“After the latest update version of the service, we have also planned the introduction of new modules. For example, the image commentary and approval model of the materials convinced us and streamlining of these processes is in consideration,” continues Asta Seppälä-Puputti.
Finlandia Vodka Worldwide Ltd was founded in 2000 as a joint venture between Altia and the American Brown-Forman Corporation. The company employs approximately 4,600 people worldwide. Its brands include: Jack Daniels and Finlandia Vodka.
Finlandia Vodka Worldwide Ltd, now Brown-Forman Finland, is a 100% owned subsidiary of the American Brown-Forman Corporation. The company is domiciled in Helsinki and employs 19 people. In accordance with the existing manufacturing agreement, Altia will continue as exclusive manufacturer of Finlandia Vodka.