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30 October 2008:  WESTLIFE singer Shane Filan indulged another passion yesterday when he performed rally car stunts on a beach.

 

The multi-millionaire singer and property developer, who has his own extensive top-of-the range car collection, wasted no time sending sand flying at Strandhill, Co Sligo.

 

 He got behind the wheel of the Citroen  C2 belonging to rally champion Shaun Gallagher, to mark the official launch of Ireland's biggest sporting event next year.

 

"It was amazing, great craic. It was a great rush. I'm glad I did it but I was glad he was beside me because I could have toppled it over," said a delighted Shane afterwards.

 

He added that although Westlife is on a break, he had no plans for a career change.

 

"We are definitely taking a break, but I think I'll stick with the group. I don't know about driving rally cars, but it was great fun," he said.

 

 Rally Ireland 2009 will take place from January 29 to February 1 across seven counties in the North West including Sligo, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan, Roscommon, Tyrone and Donegal .

 

 It will mark the opening of the World Rally Championship 2009, which for the first time will be happening in Enniskillen, and not the traditional venue of Monte Carlo.

 

In 2007, Ireland's first involvement in the WRC, 250,000 spectators viewed the event and an estimated €48m was generated for the North West economy.

 

 Speaking at the launch in the rally headquarters in Sligo, Junior Minister Dr Jimmy Devins, said that next year's event was equally significant.

 

"2007's Rally Ireland was seen by more than 62 million people in over 180 countries worldwide.

 

"Rally Ireland 2007 was a huge success due to the organisers, the local community here and the thousands of fans who witnessed this tremendous sport,'' he said.

 

"I have every confidence that Rally Ireland 2009 will be another major success.''

 

 Chairman of Failte Ireland North West, Paschal Mooney, assured potential visitors that they would have the time of their lives.

 

Rally Ireland event director, John Naylor, said that the success of the event in 2007 had been recognised by the WRC when Ireland was given the honour of hosting the opening round of the 2009 championship.

 

Source:  independent.ie.   Credits: Anita Guidera

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