On paper, and to begin with, sticking a 300bhp Focus RS on the same piece of road as a £15,750 Renault Clio seemed like a complete waste of time. And money. And petrol.

And yet…when we did so, it was anything but.

The Focus, as you probably know, is a sort of four-wheeled equivalent of the second coming. It’s so quick and so composed, it’s already taken care of what is arguably one of the greatest performance cars of the modern era; the Nissan GTR. When we compared the two recently we found the Ford to be more fun, more civilized, half the price and damn near as fast as the GTR in real world conditions – assuming you have some sort of a conscience and aren’t prepared to drive like a lunatic just to make a point.

So the idea of comparing a car that’s good enough to put one over the Nissan GTR with a Renault that has two-thirds the power, well, like I say, to begin with it wasn’t my idea of fun.

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But the moment I climbed into the little Renault and drove it with vim at a few corners, I knew the RS had competition.  It’s so well balanced and so unfeasibly nimble and agile, you can drive it like an absolute maniac and still get away with your mistakes.