maybe fuel pressure regulator not holding pressure - by the second or third time you try to start it the pump has built up enough pressure to start the car.
try turning the key to 'ON' for approx 2.5 secs before cranking the engine. EA-D cars are set up to run the pump for 3 secs when the key is in the on position to 'prime' the fuel system, if this is the fault then your car should start first time after priming.
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guys its going to depend on what sort of start problems you have
if the engine kicks over and you are ready to release the key because the starter is turning too fast, then the engine stops, this indicates low fuel pressure, the only reason the engine appears to kick over is because your cranking it and giving it fuel, so it fires slightly.
if the engine starts perfectly but then just dies (and you can avoid this by holding down the throttle), then as jbolger said its probably the ISC motor.
check your fuel pressure, not from the regulator, from the pump. If you havent replaced the fuel pump in the last 5 years then this could well be your concern.
"The earth for the TFI actually comes from the lower rear screw hole - if it is not tight and the distributor is not grounded properly it will display any number of problems - like poor starting and weak spark, these directly relating to the inability of the internal coil driver to ground the coil."
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