97 A4 - Ignition Problems

I own a 97 A4 1.8Tq (no immobilizer) ...recently I had teh clutch replaced by a local 'specialist' mechanic. Anyway, for some reason after he was
done with the clutch, the car refused to start - when the key was cranked, the engine didnt turn at all - the lights in the dash came on and everything else seemed to be normal.
Well after trouble shooting for a day, my mechanic told me that the ignition switch was gone - which I felt was rather odd seeing that I had never had any problems with it at all. So anyway, he replaced the ignition switch and it worked fine after that for two months.
Now, last week, the car would start erratically - that is, sometimes it would start on the first crank, and at other times, it would take a couple of cranks. This got to the point late last week where I would have to crank the key 10 times or more and the engine would finally turn over and start!! I haven't driven the car for a couple of days now. I purchased another ignition switch just in case and plan on replacing it tomorrow.
Any ideas on how difficult this is? Is it as simple as just opening the little plastic cover on the steering and popping out the old one?
I looked at the old switch I got back from the mechanic and it appears one of the terminals inside it is pretty worn out. Could this be due to some other electrical problem?
When I crank teh key, I can hear a light, fast tapping sound coming from the left side of the dash (right behind the fuses - where the relays are)...could this be a faulty relay? If so, how do I check this?
Looking at the circuit diagram for the car, it appears that there is nothing between the switch and the starter...though I would think that there should at least be a relay in there somewhere!!
I'm in Canada, by the way...any help is greatly appreciated... thanks

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