Could be several things. First thing you need to do is access & read off any fault codes. Most inependant garages will do this for a small charge. Bear in mind, any codes stored are only an indication of where to start looking. If you can get the codes read and post the results, i'll let you know the likely soloution.
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you may want to check the engine's timing. You may want to check also the spark plugs as it may tell you if you are advanced or not. A black tip spark plug would tell you that the timing is late while a little white is advanced. You need is a light brown color. If there is no problem on the timing you may want to check on the fast idle control valve and pcv if it needs a little cleaning.
maybe the crank position sensor, long starts are usually due to the fact the computer doesn't know where the NO.1 cylinder is, so he fires at random and eventually he nails it, therefore the car starts.
The crank position sensor tells the computer where the NO.1 piston is at and he knows when to send the spark, but u should have a check engine light on in this case.