Estonian Sander Pärn and championship leader Pontus Tidemand from Sweden round out the Top 3.
Amberg was quickest on three of Friday’s nine stages to open up a lead of more than two minutes by the end of the day, despite losing time early on with a punctured tyre.
“Today has been kind to us but I’ve also had a few moments, plus some problems with wishbones and front dampers,” said Amberg. “Okay, a two-minute lead going into tomorrow, but it still won’t be easy. I need to get into a rhythm quickly, keep up the speed and stay in the middle of the road.”
Pärn and Tidemand both suffered two punctures apiece, and Pärn’s second cost him close to two minutes.
“That second puncture really hurt – I drove eight kilometres on it, but I think I would have lost more time if I had stopped to change it,” he explained. “The gaps to Andreas in front and back to Pontus behind is safe either side provided there are no problems.”
Tidemand was delayed by an even bigger margin by time penalties incurred when a damaged suspension component was replaced on his car and he was late leaving the service area.
This cost Tidemand dearly as he fell from second to sixth, but with his customary determination, he cast the time loss aside as a minor set-back and headed into the afternoon focused and putting in some impressive times, including his first stage win of the event on SS14.
Tidemand said: “At least when things have been running OK the speed has been there to give us bonus points for two stage wins and we’ll go for more tomorrow. I don’t think it’s possible to make any more places but you never know – if tomorrow is the same as today anything can still happen.”
After Tidemand´s misfortune, Niko-Pekka Nieminen (FIN) briefly moved into third place only to then roll on SS13.
His retirement, along with that of young Slovak Martin Koci, allowed Tidemand to reclaim the final podium spot overnight– a position he´ll be keen to hold after his closest title rival Jose Antonio Suarez (ESP) retired from the day with a broken oil sump after a heavy landing.
Six Junior WRC crews successfully finished Day Two. Outside the Top 3, Yeray Lemes (ESP) lies in fourth, Marius Aasen (NOR) followed him home in fifth and Michael Burri (SUI) sits in a comfortable sixth.
Nieminen, Koci and Suarez will all restart today under Rally 2 regulations.