Actually, the behavior you get will be the expected one. What you can try is to call BringDataItemIntoView method of RadCarouselPanel with the item you want to be displayed initially. In case you require this to be achieved only in xaml (without any code in the code-behind), you can try using attached behavior.
I am attaching a sample project illustrating this approach. Please take a look at it and let me know whether it corresponds to your requirements.
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