There were various real life surprises on display at this year’s Britain's Best Driver's Car shindig, but for me the biggest of them all was the way in which the Aston V8 Vantage S so clearly took care of the Jaguar XKR-S.

Having driven the Jag before, albeit in prototype form and exclusively on the road last year, I was expecting great things from it at Rockingham. And in the main it just about delivered (although to be honest it felt just a bit too big, a bit too heavy and a bit too cumbersome to hit the bullseye on this particular circuit). But the Aston, well, it was the complete opposite.

               Jag chases Aston – in vain, as it happened

In previous encounters Astons have tended to lack the last degree of dynamic precision compared with their equivalents from Jaguar, but the new Vantage S – with its V12 Vantage derived suspension and crisper-than-ever steering and throttle response – was little short of fantastic around Rockingham.