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If the immobiliser hasn't been de-activated, the engine will still turn over with the starter motor, but it just will not fire up. If there is no sign of life when you turn the key, the ignition switch could be faulty. Next time it fails to start, try turning the key and holding it really hard against the "stop". If this does the trick, then it is 99.9% certain to be the ignition switch (happened to me on my first car).
Also: As you have a 1998 model, do I take it that you have the red LED that flashes in the centre top of the instrument panel? Does that stop flashing even when the car won't start. If it has stopped flashing, then the immobiliser is being correctly dde-activated by your key.
Currently in Ivor_E_Tower's garage:
2014 Captur dCi EDC; 2014 Ka 1.2 Zetec; 2015 C-Max 1.6 TDCI