Three years of waiting finally came to an end last night, when I grabbed the keys to our newly arrived Ford Focus RS long-termer.

This sounds simple enough, but it’s not the work of a minute; I even had to (ahem) bump one of my colleagues off the car list to make sure that I got my bum in the seat. But I hoped it would be worthwhile; having run Autocar’s Focus ST for a year, I’ve been salivating in a fairly unpleasant manner at the thought of a more potent model.

And yet, at the same time, I’ve been one of the more sceptical voices in the office; my experience of the ST, brilliant though it was, led me to question whether a car with a heavy 2.5-litre five-pot lump could deliver the sort of agility required to really move the game on.

One night’s thrashing over deserted military ranges roads near Aldershot has been enough to ally my fears, just.