Why is my clutch pedal making clicking noises?

I have a 1994 Escort Wagon with a 5-speed. Today, as I was shifting gears, I noticed the clutch pedal would make a CLICK noise as I pushed it in (but not as I let up on the pedal).

The car has about 127k miles on it and, other than me smashing the crap out of the front end earlier this year, has never given me any problems.

The clicking does not seem to have any effect on the functioning of the clutch. Shifting is just as smooth as ever.

I went to the car and got under the dash (I am NOT as limber as I used to be :)).

This car has a clutch safety switch (or whatever it’s called) requiring the clutch pedal to be pushed all the way to the floor before it will start. It is attached to a bracket that’s attached to the top of the clutch pedal lever. When I push in the lever, the metal rod slips out of the yoke, thus the clicking sound.

I found this part lying on the floorboard approximately under the clutch pedal. It may or may not have fallen off.

I have no problem starting the car, btw.

Any clues?

To me that piece looks like a firewall plug. When they make a car, they usually have a few extra holes in the firewall in case you later want to add some accessories (sterio equipment, fog lights, etc) where running wires into the cab is necessary. That looks like the rubber plug that they insert into these extra holes. Maybe look from the engine side of the firewall in that area to see if there is a hole without a plug. Either that or it could be some kind of bump stop to cusion the clutch pedal when you bottom it out, to avoid wearing a hole in the carpet, etc.