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Starting issue - 06 Campus Sport 1.2 16v

Hi all, new to the forum and trying to troubleshoot an issue with my Clio.

It's an 06 Campus Sport 1.2 16v, 68k miles and generally runs well.

Used to be only every now and then but recently starting has been a real issue, it'll crank fine but not fire properly until 3rd or 4th time. Generally the first start attempt it'll grumble slightly after cranking for 2 seconds or so but then cut out straight away. 2nd time is usually better, crank for the same amount of time but grumble a bit more like it's trying to start but not quite make it. 3rd time is usually when it fires, but when it does I normally get a bit of white smoke out the back (only when starting, not constant) and the revs shoot up in bursts quite quickly to about 2500-3000rpm but then drop to around 2000 before settling to the normal idle of around 1100 after about 10 seconds. It's worth mentioning sometimes it will continue to hold the idle high and not drop even after a minute, so I usually turn off and try again.

I'm a bit puzzled as to what the issue is. I did have a fault where it was idling high when coming to a stop or stationary during last winter but ironically it was starting fine every time then, had it checked at a garage and they found nothing. Battery is new from September last year, spark plugs a year old and recently put a new crank sensor on. Haven't got any warning lights and I'm driving it daily, about an hours worth on different roads.

Wondering if anyone has had similar issues or may know where to look first? Think there is still a good bit of life in it so reluctant to think about getting rid as I'm quite fond.