Guvnor,
From your description I wouldn't be surprised if your problem is a theft deterrent issue. I'd suggest cleaning the key pellet and trying the other key to see if there is a difference. You might want to start another thread and post the codes to follow up.
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99 Navy Blue Metallic, black interior, 6 spd, Z51, HUD, R8C (Museum Delivery featured in the Jan 02 issue of Vette)